May 30, 2024 - News

Melinda French Gates pledges $1B to women’s rights

Melinda French gates in a red dress, smiling

Philanthropist Melinda French Gates arrives for a 2023 meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris. Photo: Christian Liewig- Corbis/Getty Images

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

Why it matters: French Gates announced the commitment this week as she prepares to leave the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and turn 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 reproductive and other women's rights in the U.S., according to Pivotal.

  • $250 million will go to organizations working to improve women's mental and physical health worldwide.

What she's saying: "As shocking as it is to contemplate, my 1-year-old granddaughter may grow up with fewer rights than I had," she wrote in a New York Times op-ed.

  • "When we allow this cause to go so chronically underfunded, we all pay the cost."

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

  • The Gateses 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 two years ago of the Supreme Court ending federal protections for abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade.

  • "We remain the only advanced economy without any form of national paid family leave," she also 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."

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