Gates Foundation Commits $80m To Women’s Development

By Sola Ogundipe

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced a three-year $80 million commitment to close the gender data gap and accelerate progress for women and girls around the world.
Making the announcement at the three-day women’s conference taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark, Co-chair of the Foundation, Melinda Gates, said the funding will help fill critical gender data gaps; improve the accuracy and reliability of data collection; equip decision makers with better evidence; and support civil society’s efforts to hold leaders accountable for their commitments.
Gates said the money would help gather more reliable data about women’s lives, such as time spent on unpaid work or farming, which was needed to inform policy and programmes and accelerate progress for women and girls.
She said: “It’s great that women and girls are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. But right, now there is insufficient data to build a baseline for nearly 80 percent of SDG 5 indicators.
“If advocacy for women and girls is about giving voice to the voiceless – gathering and analyzing data is about making the invisible visible.” Also at the conference, a new discussion paper, entitled: “Delivering the power of parity: Toward a more gender-equal society,” finds that achieving the economic potential of women and making progress toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, will require $1.5 trillion-$2 trillion in annual spending on essential services in 2025, while the potential economic gains could be six to eight times this outlay. She said: “Narrowing the gender gap can unleash massive growth,” noted Vivian Hunt, Managing partner of McKinsey’s United Kingdom and Ireland offices.
“But in order to realize the $12 trillion opportunity that comes from advancing gender equality in the world of work, we have to tackle gender gaps in society more broadly.” Our new analysis finds that the economic benefits of narrowing gender gaps far outweigh the additional social spending required.” In the view of the CEO of Women Deliver, Katja Iversen, “Investing in gender equality – and in girls’ and women’s health – is investing in human progress. A woman multiplies investments made in her future by creating a better life for herself and her family, community and society. The announcements today show the ripple effect that these investments have for society and the world.”

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