Gender Equality

How is gender equality crucial to economic recovery?
Gender activist Adelle Onyango discusses why placing women at the heart of communities, decisions, policies, and economies doesn’t just benefit women—it benefits everyone.

We’ve seen, across high- and low-income countries alike, that women have been more impacted than men from the global recession triggered by the pandemic. But—importantly—data demonstrate that the negative effect on women has been smaller in countries that had gender equitable policies in place before the pandemic hit.

That’s why we’re advocating for governments around the world to put women at the center of their economic recovery planning and policymaking. These policies won’t just make a difference in the short term; they’ll help ensure greater economic stability when the next major crisis comes around.

At the foundation, we believe that a three-pronged policymaking approach that focuses on care, cash, and data is key to a gender equitable and durable economic recovery. Scroll down to learn more.

Advocating for care, cash, and data

The “care, cash, and data” agenda developed by the Center for Global Development is central to post-pandemic recovery efforts and women’s economic empowerment.

  • Care means helping families who are raising children and caring for sick relatives—for example, by subsidizing childcare centers or offering paid family and medical leave—instead of just expecting women to do it all, unpaid.
  • Cash means making sure recovery, stimulus, and social protection money gets directly into women’s hands.
  • Data means making the invisible visible so leaders and policymakers can pinpoint the needs of women and girls, develop evidence-based reforms, and monitor progress.

As governments chart their path toward a post-COVID-19 world, we are urging them to ensure that recovery policies place care, cash, and data at the center of their efforts to ensure an inclusive, dynamic, and durable economic recovery.

Prioritizing gender equality can help us build back stronger from COVID-19
The pandemic has affected millions around the world, with women among the hardest hit. As economies rebuild, new data show that when we prioritize solutions that help women, all people benefit.

Accelerating progress toward gender equality

Gender equality describes a world in which women and girls have equal access to resources and opportunities and where their participation, contributions, and decisions are valued and rewarded as much as those of men.

Our work on gender equality addresses the barriers that keep women and girls from being fully active in their homes, economies, and societies, recognizing that we can’t achieve progress if half the world’s population is left behind and their potential and talent are left untapped.

Learn more about our strategy and efforts to accelerate progress toward a gender-equal world.

The Hidden Economics of Remarkable Women (HERO) is a foundation-supported Foreign Policy podcast series about women who are creating change through economic empowerment.

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Meet our experts

Anita Zaidi
President, Gender Equality and Director, Vaccine Development and Surveillance, and Director, Enteric and Diarrheal Diseases programs
Anita Zaidi is the president of the foundation’s Gender Equality Division. In this role, Anita oversees the foundation’s efforts to achieve gender equality by integrating gender across the foundation’s global work and investing in women’s economic empowerment, women’s leadership, and removing the barriers for women and girls to thrive. The mission of the Gender Equality Division is a world in which women and girls have equal opportunity.
Dr. Anita Zaidi is briefed about the nutrition screening process for the SEEM (study of environmental enteropathy and malnutrition) project in Matiari district, Sindh province, Pakistan.
Dr. Anita Zaidi is briefed about the nutrition screening process for the SEEM (study of environmental enteropathy and malnutrition) project in Matiari district, Sindh province, Pakistan. ©Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/Asad Zaidi
When women gain agency, it indirectly challenges some of the unwritten rules that say women are less than men.
Anita Zaidi
President, Gender Equality