Melinda French Gates invests $1 billion in women’s rights

Legend, Melinda French Gates says women’s issues are underfunded

  • Author, Laura Blasey
  • Role, BBC News, Washington

Billionaire philanthropist Melinda French Gates announced on Tuesday that she would dedicate $1 billion (£782.4 million) over the next two years to women’s causes and gender equality around the world.

Around $200m (£157m) will go to organizations fighting for gender and reproductive rights in the US.

In a guest essay by The New York Times, Ms. French Gates said she felt compelled to support reproductive rights in the United States after the 2022 Supreme Court ruling that struck down the constitutional right to abortion.

The money will be distributed through his company, Pivotal Ventures, until 2026.

Ms French Gates plans to give $20m (£16m) to a “diverse group of 12 world leaders” to distribute to organizations of their choice before the end of 2026.

The company announced it would dedicate an additional $250 million (£196 million) in the autumn to global organizations focused on women’s mental and physical health.

French Gates said she chose the first grant recipients working in the United States to “protect women’s rights and advance their power and influence.”

“When we allow this cause to be so chronically underfunded, we all pay the price,” she wrote in the New York Times. “As shocking as it may seem, my one-year-old granddaughter may grow up with fewer rights than me.”

One of the grant recipients is the Center for Reproductive Rights, which advocates for abortion rights and currently represents 50 women in lawsuits challenging abortion restrictions and other reproductive health measures in several States.

Joung-ah Ghedini-Williams, the Centre’s communications and marketing manager, said the money was needed now more than ever.

“Attention and public debate on reproductive rights and abortion is greater than ever,” said Ms. Ghedini-Williams. “That’s not necessarily reflected in donations, which is why it’s so wonderful right now, when we need to continue to fuel this fight.”

Other recipients include MomsRising, an organization that supports women’s economic security; the National Women’s Law Center, which focuses on law as a means to improve gender equity; and The 19th, a nonprofit news outlet dedicated to gender and policy news.

Image source, EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

The National Domestic Workers Alliance, which advocates on behalf of millions of nannies, housekeepers, home health aides and others in the United States, also received a grant.

The flexible terms and multi-year security the grant provides are a significant help to the group, but even more important is the message it sends, said Ai-jen Poo, president of the organization.

“Giving bold resources to women makes us ask the question: ‘Why didn’t we do this before?’ “, she said. “It’s long past time that women make up more than half the workforce, half the electorate and carry out 70% of the care work in our communities and families. »

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