Can Melinda French Gates revive the lagging women’s movement?

Suddenly women and girls seem to be invisible.

Women are no longer the top priority, even at the Women’s Sports Foundation, which advocates for the rights of biological men who identify as women or trans women to participate in women’s sports. This despite the science that clearly shows that trans men have an unfair advantage over girls and women.

State legislatures make it impossible for women to obtain abortions that are legal under the 1973 United States Supreme Court ruling, Roe vs. Wade.

Millions of women are struggling in the aftermath of the pandemic, when they have lost their jobs disproportionately and now face pressure to return to work despite the lack of affordable child care.

It is therefore more than heartening that Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation, is championing a new $ 2.1 billion initiative to “advance women’s economic empowerment, strengthen women and girls’ health and improve women’s health. family planning, and accelerate women’s leadership ”.

The initiative was announced at a forum in Paris organized by UN Women, the governments of Mexico and France and the Gates Foundation.

$ 2.1 billion

In a statement, French Gates observed that “nowhere on earth are women on an equal footing with men. Waves of opposition to women’s rights have emerged and structural obstacles to gender equality and women’s health still exist.

“Now is the chance to relaunch a movement and bring real change. The beauty of our fight for gender equality is that every human being will gain, ”she says.

According to the Gates Foundation, the Paris event, called the Generation Equality Forum, is the first time since the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995 that the world has come together “to take ambitious action that will have transformational impact for women and women. girls. . ”

Where will the money go

The new funding includes:

  • $ 650 million to support women’s empowerment collectives, strengthen the care economy, improve women’s financial inclusion and reduce barriers to paid work.
  • $ 1.4 billion to expand contraceptive options and access and support family planning partners, including UNFPA Supplies Partnership, Family Planning 2030, the Global Financing Mechanism and the new Shaping Equitable Market Access for Reproductive initiative Health.
  • $ 100 million over the next five years (and $ 230 million over the next ten years) to “accelerate the inclusion of women in leadership roles, primarily in the areas of health, law and justice. ‘economy’. This includes a new fund to dismantle systemic barriers to gender equality and the leadership of women and girls around the world.

The Gates Foundation released new data showing that “the inequalities caused by the pandemic are growing at an alarming rate, driven by disruptions in health services for women, job losses in sectors where women are overrepresented and a sharp increase in the need for care and other unpaid work ”.

Female unemployment increased by 9 million in 2020 compared to 2019 and is expected to increase by an additional 2 million in 2021. This trend is not true for men, who are expected to see unemployment decline in 2021.