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a close up image of Melinda French Gates smiling at a red carpet event. She wears a blue dress and has brown hair

Melinda French Gates Commits $1B to Support Women

Melinda French Gates has announced she will donate US$1 billion over the next two years to organisations supporting women and families.

Sharing the news on social media, the philanthropist revealed she would begin by allocating $200 million to those fighting for reproductive rights in the U.S., and $240 million to 12 leaders working to improve women’s health around the world. Another $250 million will be awarded through an open call for grants, which will be launched later this year. All the funds are being distributed through her company, Pivotal Ventures.

“For decades, I’ve watched women and girls fight to get on the global agenda. It’s time women and girls set that agenda themselves,” Melinda said.


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In an op-ed published in the New York Times this week, she explained how she feels “compelled” to support reproductive rights because “for too long, a lack of money has forced organisations fighting for women’s rights into a defensive posture while the enemies of progress play offence. I want to help even the match.”

Some of the organisations she’ll be supporting include the National Women’s Law Centre, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Centre for Reproductive Rights.

“As shocking as it is to contemplate, my 1-year-old granddaughter may grow up with fewer rights than I had,” she wrote, also noting the disproportionate maternal mortality rates amongst Black and Native American women, the lack of paid family leave and the increasing mental health issues faced by teenage girls.

“As a young woman, I could never have imagined that one day I would be part of an effort like this. Because I have been given this extraordinary opportunity, I am determined to do everything I can to seize it and to set an agenda that helps other women and girls set theirs, too.”

The pledge comes weeks after Melinda announced she would be stepping away from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which she co-founded with ex Bill Gates almost 25 years ago.

(Feature Image Credit: Taylor Hill/WireImage via Getty Images)

Nehal is an award-winning news presenter, author of "A Kids Book About Kindness Online" and founder of CelebrityKind. She has dedicated her career to creating connected and healthy spaces in the media. When she's not writing, you'll find Nehal hanging with family, dancing to Beyoncé, interpreting Taylor Swift lyrics or watching old eps of Oprah.