Gender Equality

Gender equality is not a side issue. It is at the core of a stronger response, recovery, and a more resilient future.
Inevitably, some people will argue that we should table conversations about gender equality until we get through this emergency. But the disease and its effects are not gender neutral. Our response cannot be either.
Melinda Gates

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Gender inequality isn’t a problem we can ignore, even in a pandemic—or rather, especially in a pandemic.

Consider the fallout so far: Government-ordered lockdowns have shown rapid increases in domestic violence. Disruptions to the global supply chain have limited the supply of contraceptives in low-income countries. Schools are closed and girls’ education lags. And women are nearly twice as likely to lose their jobs than men in the pandemic economy. When COVID-19 cut clothing demand in New York, seamstresses in Ethiopia face hunger.

With thoughtful attention and deliberate action, we can change this. We can build a more resilient future.

We can’t wait for gender equality to magically happen. In the 21st century, there’s still no place on earth that treats women and men equally.

There’s opportunity—right now—to rebuild a stronger, more resilient, more prosperous world, one that sidelines systemic inequality.

Because equal is greater.

We can build a more equal future for women and girls

a woman with a mask over her face reading L'Hopital public, c'est vital

The Pandemic's Toll on Women

Read Melinda Gates' article in Foreign Affairs on the pandemic's toll on women, why it matters, and what policymakers can do to build a more equal and prosperous future.
By Melinda Gates Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Photo by Martin Barzilai / HAYTHAM-REA / Redux

Indian woman wearing green face mask takes a phone call

Gender equality. No, there isn't an app for that

Women in low- and middle-income countries are 20% less likely to own a smartphone than men. Closing this gap requires addressing social, financial, and educational barriers.
Anita Zaidi holding child in Pakistan

Poverty is sexist: A Q&A with new Gender Equality Division President Anita Zaidi

New Gender Equality Division President Anita Zaidi discusses the newly created division and what it means for the foundation.
By Anita Zaidi President, Gender Equality and Director, Vaccine Development and Surveillance, and Director, EDD, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Gif Data Stats

Sexist and incomplete data hold back the world’s COVID-19 response

More gender disaggregated data is needed to fully understand COVID-19's impacts. Melinda Gates shares four actions governments must take to overcome this gap.
By Melinda Gates Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Graphic with the headline “Women are vastly underrepresented in news headlines”

Missing Perspectives: How women are left out of the news

A new report shows that women are vastly underrepresented in media coverage and in the journalism sector. The Gates Foundation’s Susan Byrnes discusses the findings with Luba Kassova.
By Susan Byrnes and Luba Kassova

Discover more

Explore additional gender equality content