Gender Equality

The foundation’s Gender Equality Division works to accelerate progress toward a gender-equal world by identifying and dismantling the barriers that prevent women and girls from exercising bodily autonomy, planning for and starting healthy families, and being fully active in their homes, economies, and societies.
Sati Devi along with Self help group members in discussion with foundation staff and Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN) staff during a meeting in Sondari Pakartoli village, Torpa, Jharkhand, India. ©Gates Archive/Mansi Midha

Our work

When women and girls can prioritize their own health and well-being, earn and manage their own money, decide whether or when they want to have children, and be leaders in their societies, everyone benefits. 
Anita Zaidi
President, Gender Equality Division
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Gender Equality Division funds some of the most effective advocates and programs working to advance women's economic participation and decision-making power, increase women's access to leadership roles, improve and protect women’s health and bodily autonomy, increase child survival and resilience, champion and expand positive social norms, and strengthen data and insights to address persistent gender inequalities.

Our strategy focuses on clearing obstacles that prevent women and girls in low- and middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia from making their own choices and leading healthy lives with opportunity, dignity, and respect. We work with our partners to amplify the progress already being made and identify areas where the need is high and our support can make a difference.

Learn more about our strategy and commitment

Our program teams

Our program teams

We are in awe of the power and impact that individual women bring to their communities when opportunities are available to them. We work to improve the lives of individual women by backing projects and programs that are designed for their needs, in areas such as health innovation, economic participation, and digital connectivity. We also support their self-determination through initiatives that advance women’s digital access and adoption, skills development, and economic power
Adolescent & Social Norms

Exploring the progress and potential of positive adolescent gender norms

Gender Data & Insights

Collecting and analyzing better gender data so women are counted and considered in decision making

Digital Connectivity

Accelerating meaningful connectivity for women to close the digital divide

Gender Integration

Amplifying impact by applying an intersectional gender lens across all of the foundation’s work

Women’s Economic Empowerment

Driving gender equal participation in the economy

Women’s Health Innovations

Unlocking new health innovations for women

Women In Leadership

Powering equitable pathways to leadership for women

Maternal, Newborn, Child Nutrition & Health

Ensuring women and newborns in low- and middle-income countries survive and remain healthy before, during, and after childbirth

Family Planning

Ensuring women and girls can access the contraception and family planning services they want and need

Strategy leadership

The latest updates from gender equality

Women farmers observe as Ndaya Beltchika, Lead Technical Specialist at IFAD, is briefed on horticulture efforts in Sunamganj District, Bangladesh.

Women farmers are reeling from climate change. Leaders need to put them first.

An agronomist shares three lessons for leaders at COP27.
By Ndaya Beltchika Lead Technical Specialist, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
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
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