Gates Foundation Commits $2.1 Billion to Advance Gender Equality
(Bloomberg) -- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is committing $2.1 billion to advance gender equality, Melinda French Gates’s main philanthropic focus, about two months after the namesake founders announced their divorce.
“The world has been fighting for gender equality for decades, but progress has been slow,” French Gates said Wednesday in a statement. “Now is the chance to reignite a movement and deliver real change.”
Her comments came the first day of the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, a convention organized by U.N. Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France that will tackle women’s rights and gender equality.
The foundation’s $2.1 billion commitment will fund efforts in three areas over the next five years: $650 million for economic empowerment, $1.4 billion for family planning and health, and $100 million for accelerating women in leadership. Another $230 million will be earmarked for the third goal over the next 10 years.
French Gates personally committed another $1 billion in 2019 to advancing women’s empowerment. Her investing and incubation firm Pivotal Ventures largely focuses on gender equality and has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in more than 150 organizations to date, according to a spokesperson.
Since the divorce, Cascade Investment, Gates’s money manager, has transferred more than $3 billion worth of stock to French Gates. While some in philanthropy circles have questioned whether the split might result in her relying more on Pivotal Ventures to fund her gender-related priorities, the latest commitment would appear to solidify her ties to the foundation.
“Prioritizing gender equality is not only the right thing to do, it is essential to fighting poverty and preventable disease,” Bill Gates said in the statement.
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