Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation earmarks US$170m for gender equality

08Mar 2018
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation earmarks US$170m for gender equality

In a bid to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have announced an investment of $170 million towards it.


The foundation is targeting its investment on four major areas, which are digital financial inclusion, increased job opportunities, support for the agricultural sector and women’s support groups.


The investments will be primarily focussed in India, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. It will build on the foundation’s previous financial commitments to advance progress on gender equality, including US$80 million for gender data, advocacy and accountability, of which US$20 million was dedicated to supporting women’s movements.


“One of the most profound ways a woman can make life better for herself and her family is to take control of her economic future,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


The announcement of the investment was made three days before the world marks the International Women’s Day, which is being celebrated today. The event seeks to celebrate women’s achievements, as well as act as a catalyst for change when it comes to gender equality.


It’s been observed for over 100 years and is now celebrated around the world. The day brings together global governments, women’s organisations, businesses and charities together under the banner of International Women’s Day.


The day itself will be marked with talks, performances, rallies, networking events and marches. With the recent scandals in Hollywood, and the World Economic Forums’ Global Gender Gap Report showing that it will take 217 years to close the gender parity gap, it’s more important than ever that aim for progress.


The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #PressforProgress.


The earliest observance of a Woman’s Day was held in New York on February 28, 1909, and was organised by the Socialist Party of America. A year later, at the International Women’s Conference in Copenhagen, socialist representatives proposed that there be an International Women’s Day, inspired by the demonstration in New York.


It was celebrated for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19, 1911.Two years later, in 1913, it was proposed that the date be moved to March 8 and it has been celebrated on this day ever since.