Women’s Economic Power

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A community health volunteer, Mesaid, conducts meets with an expectant mother, Chizi, in Mariakani, Kenya.

Melinda French Gates on how leaders can boost women’s economic power

The case for doing so has never been stronger, argues the philanthropist.
By Melinda French Gates Co-chair, Board Member, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Nakanyike Annet waits with her baby Natasha Kwagala, 3 months, for immunizations at the Nakaseke General Hospital in Nakaseke District, Uganda, on September 8, 2023.
Global Alliance for Women’s Health

It’s proven: Closing the women’s health gap will allow more women to live healthier, higher-quality lives and boost the global economy by US$1 trillion—every year. Learn more from the Global Alliance for Women’s Health to reshape the future of women’s health.

Illuminating opportunities: Data on untapped potential

Employment
26%
Estimated GDP increase by adding more women to the workforce

(2022, Closing the Gender Gap in the Workforce, Council on Foreign Relations)
Pay gap
24%
Global pay gap faced by women compared to men across the health and care sector

(2022, The Gender Gap in Pay, World Health Organization)  
Credit
$1.7T
Estimated amount of unmet demand for credit among women (in USD)

(2022, How to measure female entrepreneurship?, The World Bank)
Digital payments
80M
Number of unbanked women in developing countries receiving government transfers in cash

(2019, Banking on the future of women, IMF)
Investment
6x
Amount of capital investment received by male-owned enterprises in Africa compared to female-owned enterprises

(2019, Profiting from Parity, The World Bank)  
Child care
300M
Possible jobs generated by investing in universal child care and long-term services

(2022, Care at work, ILO)  
Policy and law
86
Number of countries where women cannot legally do the same jobs as men

(2022, Nearly 2.4 Billion Women Globally, The World Bank)  
Commitment
$80M
Investment from our foundation in 2016 to help fill some of these critical gender data gaps

More on women’s financial inclusion

Digital Banking in India Through a Postmaster’s Lens

A story of digital banking in India—and a young woman’s promising career path

Digital banking lets millions of people safely receive, send, and save money without the need for cash. One young woman in India explains how this is helping her community.
Woman looking at mobile phone

Banking on the future of women

Poverty is not a single fact or condition, but rather a collection of them: a lack of financial assets, a lack of access to property, and a lack of voice in one's community.
By Sarah Hendriks Director, Programme, Policy and Intergovernmental Division, UN Women
Ram Bhatari, a recipient of the India Post Payments Bank’s door to door banking effort, tells her story about her pension with digital tools.

Financial independence through last mile service delivery

Ram Bhatari, a recipient of the India Post Payments Bank’s door to door banking effort, tells her story about her pension with digital tools.

More on child care

Jashodaben conducts various activities with children based on teacher training programs in a child care center known as crèche in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.

Investing in affordable child care: good for families, children, and economic impact

Affordable child care can lead to millions of jobs for women, leading to a major economic impact. Learn more about the opportunity here. 
By Yamini Atmavilas Senior Program Officer, Gender Equality, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Woman working in front of laptop from home, with child on her lap.

Governments build roads and bridges. Why is another essential piece of infrastructure, child care, built on women’s unpaid labor?

The pandemic has been devastating to women’s employment. Unless governments and the private sector start to think of child care as essential infrastructure, post-pandemic recovery plans will falter.
By Anita Zaidi President, Gender Equality Division, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Mother holding her infant son.

Women on philanthropy’s front lines: A conversation with Melanie Brown and Elizabeth Barajas-Román

Women’s funds have long been on the front lines of addressing persistent societal injustices. They need our support to address the harms suffered by women during the COVID-19 pandemic—from lost jobs to domestic violence.
By Melanie Brown and Elizabeth Barajas-Román

More on women’s economic power

Binta Diao, Eden Gatesi, Dr. Marie-Angelique Sene, Souadou Fall, and Dr. Shivon Byamukama

Melinda French Gates highlights five women inspiring change in their communities in Rwanda and Senegal

The global advocate for women and girls shares the stories of some extraordinary women whose vision and ingenuity are creating new possibilities for their countries and industries.
By Melinda French Gates Co-chair, Board Member, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Souadou Fall, co-founder of E-cover, in the E-cover factory in Dakar, Senegal. Souadou created 100 jobs after getting a loan to expand her business.

Want to grow your economy? Focus on women.

Two recent graduates in Senegal had a great idea for a business. Because they were women, banks and investors kept saying “no.”
By Sybil Chidiac Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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 Division, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation