Why Melinda Gates is putting $1 billion toward gender equality over the next decade

Jason Bell for Pivotal Ventures

Melinda Gates is pledging big bucks toward gender equality.

The billionaire philanthropist will commit $1 billion over the next decade to empowering women in the US, Gates announced in an essay published by TIME.

“Too many people — women and men — have worked too hard to get us this far,” Gates penned in an op-ed for the magazine. “And there are too many possible solutions we haven’t tried yet. That’s why, over the next 10 years, I am committing $1 billion to expanding women’s power and influence in the US.”

In her essay, Gates noted how there were more men named James running Fortune 500 companies than there were women on the list in 2018, with only one female CEO being of color on the list.

That, for her, was startling, which is why she’s using her company Pivotal Ventures as the basis for the female-fueled project. She specified that her pledge is based on three objectives:

  • Dismantling barriers to women’s professional advancement.
  • Fast-tracking women in sectors with “outsized impact on our society” like media, tech, and politics.
  • Create pressure on consumers, employees, and investors to create reform on diversity.

“$1 billion is a lot of money, but I also recognize that it’s only a small fraction of what’s necessary,” she said. “That’s why I hope the financial commitment I’m making today is seen as both a vote of confidence in the experts and advocates who are already working on these issues—and an invitation for others to join the cause and make commitments of their own. Equality can’t wait, and no one in a position to act should either.”