Bill & Melinda Gates Commit $170 Million to Empower Women

According to a report on Global Citizen, Bill and Melinda Gates have committed $170 million to advance women’s economic empowerment over the next four years.

"If women could fully and equally participate in the economy, global GDP could increase by 26% - up to $28 trillion - helping to combat poverty."
“We’ll never reach our goals if we don’t also address the systematic way that women and girls are undervalued,” Melinda Gates said in op-ed for Quartz published on Monday.

With studies showing that women who have financial resources put their families first- meaning better health and hunger outcomes. According to the World Bank, children of women who manage their own money and have their own source of income have better growth and survival rates.

Women around the world are paid less than men and are more likely than men to have low-paying jobs. This kind of work, including domestic work, seasonal agricultural work, and street vending, is often under-regulated and under-valued. According to the UN, this leaves women more vulnerable to abuses of their rights, including sexual violence. 

Women are relegated to such roles because of social norms that limit their education and work opportunities and systematically under-value them. According to the UN, at least 79 countries have laws that place limitations on the kinds of work women are allowed to do, and in 15 countries, a husband can prevent his wife from working.

In Mrs. Gate's op-ed, she cites a recent study that found women in India encouraged to being working outside their homes just by opening a bank account. Furthermore, men's attitudes about women working began to change. 

The Gates Foundation's commitment to advancing women's economic empowerment over the next four years is accompanied by its new gender equality strategy. As part of the initiative, the organization will support female farmers across Asia and Africa, helping to ensure they receive fair prices for their products. The foundation also plans on encouraging women in 8 different countries to gain direct control of their finances by using digital bank accounts. 

"When a woman has greater control over her finances and economic opportunities, she is better able to realize her full potential and has greater control over her own life, said the Gates Foundation."

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