Melinda Gates is afraid that Americans will forget about gender inequality.
To make sure they don’t, the billionaire philanthropist pledged to spend $1 billion over the next decade empowering women, Gates announced in an essay published by Time on October 2.
“Too many people — women and men — have worked too hard to get us this far,” Gates wrote in Time. “And there are too many possible solutions we haven’t tried yet. That’s why, over the next ten years, I am committing $1 billion to expanding women’s power and influence in the United States.”
The $1 billion pledge will be used to fund and grow female-focused programs through investment and incubation firm Pivotal Ventures, Gates wrote in Time. The specific initiatives to be funded by the pledge will be announced at a later date, a representative for Pivotal Ventures told Business Insider. Gates founded Pivotal Ventures in 2015.
According to Gates, the United States is currently in a brief window of time when gender issues are at the forefront of the national conscious thanks to #MeToo, making it the right time for her donation.
Gates wrote that she has three priorities with her pledge:
- “… dismantling the barriers to women’s professional advancement;”
- “… fast-tracking women in sectors with outsized impact on our society — like technology, media, and public office;” and
- “… mobilizing shareholders, consumers, and employees to amplify external pressure on companies and organizations in need of reform.”
A focus on ending gender inequality
Gates, 55, has long spoken out against gender inequality. A report released by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in September noted that “gender inequality stacks the deck against half of humanity.”
Social issues like gender inequality are among billionaires’ favorite causes to donate to, Business Insider previously reported. In 2018, 61.7% of the world’s billionaires made donations within the category, which also includes crime prevention, poverty reduction, and unemployment programs, according to research firm Wealth-X.
Gates and her husband, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, have a net worth of $107 billion, Business Insider previously reported. Gates was named “the most powerful woman in philanthropy” by Forbes in 2018 for her work as the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The couple has also spent money on educational reform and public health, according to the Foundation’s website.
Originally published on Business Insider.
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