May 28, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Melinda French Gates to give $1B for global women’s rights efforts

Melinda Gates speaking in New York in September 2022.

Melinda French Gates speaking in New York in September 2022. Photo: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Melinda French Gates announced on Tuesday she will donate $1 billion through 2026 to advance women's rights and health around the world.

Why it matters: French Gates announced the major commitment as she prepares to leave the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and turns her focus to her philanthropic organization: Pivotal.

By the numbers: The $1 billion includes $200 million in grants to organizations attempting to protect and advance women's rights in the U.S., including reproductive rights, according to Pivotal.

  • It also includes $240 million partnerships with 12 global leaders, with each leader receiving a $20 million fund to distribute to organizations improving women's health in the U.S. and around the world.
  • $250 million will go to organizations working to improve women's mental and physical health worldwide.

What she's saying: French Gates wrote in a New York Times op-ed that she's making the financial pledges as women are facing a surge in political violence and other threats to their safety.

  • "When we allow this cause to go so chronically underfunded, we all pay the cost. As shocking as it is to contemplate, my 1-year-old granddaughter may grow up with fewer rights than I had," she wrote.

Context: As she confirmed her departure from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, French Gates said she would depart with $12.5 billion for her philanthropic work.

  • Melinda and Bill finalized their divorce three years ago.

Zoom in: French Gates noted women's rights are being threatened in the U.S., especially in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ending federal protections for abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

  • "We remain the only advanced economy without any form of national paid family leave," she wrote.
  • "It's frustrating and shortsighted. Decades of research on economics, well-being and governance make it clear that investing in women and girls benefits everyone."

Go deeper: Melinda French Gates' $12.5 billion exit

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