The Gates Foundation pledged $2.1 billion on Wednesday to advance gender equality around the world. This is one of the foundation’s largest single commitments to date.
The foundation said money will be distributed over the next five years and focus on three areas: health and family planning (1.4 billion), accelerating women in leadership ($100 million) and economic empowerment ($650m). Specifically, the foundation said it will seek to increase women’s financial inclusion, reduce barriers to paid work, expand access to contraceptives and boost women in leadership roles, primarily in health, law and economics.
“The world has been fighting for gender equality for decades, but progress has been slow. Now is the chance to reignite a movement and deliver real change,” Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation, said in a statement. The commitment comes as the foundation, which has a $48.9 billion endowment, reels from its founders’ surprise divorce announcement last month. Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates will continue their roles as co-chairs, but the foundation will make changes to its governance structure to “provide long-term stability and sustainability” amid the divorce, CEO Mark Suzman said.
“Women and girls already faced unique barriers to their full participation in social and economic life, and the latest data show that the pandemic has only sharpened gender disparities,” Mark said. “Each data point represents a woman fighting for a better future, and this funding reflects our longstanding commitment to support all women in their fight for a fairer and more equal world.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: USA SCIENCE NEWS
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