Women—and men—participating in, contributing to, and benefiting from economic growth are essential for transforming the lives of poor and marginalized women and girls. We know that this requires changes in decision-making and leadership, more equitable policies, laws, and norms, and better access to financial and productive assets. We also know this means changing decision-making in households, communities, markets, and state institutions. That’s why, over the course of 2019, our foundation refined its work on women’s economic empowerment. Our strategy focuses on deepening women’s agency and organizing through women’s empowerment collectives; understanding and addressing harmful gender norms; removing barriers to employment; advancing policies for decent, equitable, and flexible work opportunities; closing gaps in women’s entrepreneurship; and expanding girls’ voices, choices, and paths to economic autonomy. Underpinning this work, we have invested in strengthening what aspects of an individual’s life get measured and how it's done to build a more complete picture of women’s and girls’ lives. Finally, to ensure policies and programs for gender equality are rooted in women’s lived experiences, we continue to invest in grassroots advocacy to build political will and put gender equality at the top of the agenda for citizens and governments.
Deputy Director, Gender Equality
By Sarah Hendriks
By Caroline Lambert
By Rodger Voorhies
Goalkeepers 2019: Melinda Gates on reframing bias
Equality can't wait
In case you missed it
As much as I appreciated Rosie’s enthusiasm, her declaration of victory felt premature. Even though American women did reach that 50% threshold in 2010 (and currently comprise 49.8% of the nonfarm workforce), the same old inequalities have simply followed us to new places. We still aren’t earning as much, rising as high, or having an equal voice in decision-making.
2019 in Tweets
2020 is poised to be a pivotal year for gender equality—but only if all of us step up our game. Next year is the 25th anniversary of the Beijing World Conference on Women—a seminal event when 189 governments, pushed by 30,000 feminist activists from around the world, unanimously adopted a global agenda for improving human rights for women and girls. Already, the foundation is working with our partners to celebrate this important milestone, which will be marked by the Generation Equality Forum co-hosted by UN Women, Mexico, and France, in May and July. This is an opportunity for the international community to unite around new work that we hope will make a meaningful difference in the lives of women and girls everywhere. Ultimately, we’re hopeful that 2020 will be remembered as a time when leaders across government, business, media, philanthropy, and tech committed money to programs and policies to consign gender inequality to the history books. And we’re counting on our advocacy partners to hold these leaders accountable for their rhetoric by pushing for bold action that will speed up today’s rates of uneven progress. Internally, we are also looking at opportunities to advance progress on gender equality. Over the past few years, we have been incubating a program across our Global Growth and Opportunity teams to add a gender lens to our investments. In the year ahead, we are excited to explore both more ways to scale this work and additional areas where the foundation can invest to catalyze transformational change.
Senior Program Officer, Program Advocacy and Communications, Gender Equality