Melinda French Gates to Donate $1 Billion for Women’s Rights

03:46 May 28, 2024

Melinda French Gates to Donate $1 Billion for Women’s Rights

Melinda French Gates announced this week that she plans to give $1 billion over the next two years to support women and families around the world.

French Gates is the former wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

Earlier in May, French Gates said she would step down from her position with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She said she wanted to center her work on helping push forward women’s rights.

French Gates received $12 billion from Bill Gates for her philanthropy efforts.

Writing in The New York Times on Tuesday, French Gates said she is not happy with people who say it is not the right time to talk about gender equality.

“Decades of research on economics, well-being and governance make it clear that investing in women and girls benefits everyone,” she wrote.

In her statement, French Gates discussed the high death rates for Black and Native American women during childbirth in the United States.

She also criticized the reduced ability women have to end a pregnancy in some states, and the lack of national policy giving women time off from work after having a baby. She added that the number of teenage girls feeling hopeless and having thoughts of suicide is at its highest level in many years.

In the last few weeks, she said, she had already sent money to groups including the National Women’s Law Center, the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the Center for Reproductive Rights. The donations came from her organization Pivotal Ventures, which is organized as a private company. There is not much public information about how it invests and spends its money. French Gates said recent gifts, or grants, to activist groups, are not meant for specific projects but are for operating support.

In the past, the organization has spent money on projects related to several causes. They include closing what is often called the wage gap between men and women, supported women running for office and, what the Associated Press calls, “compensating care work often done by women.”

French Gates plans to introduce a $250 million plan in the fall that will center its energy on improving the mental and physical health of women and girls worldwide.

French Gates will be leaving the organization she founded with her ex-husband next week. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supported public health projects worldwide.

The Associated Press reports that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will change its name to the Gates Foundation. It is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world with an estimated value of $75 billion.

I’m Dan Friedell.

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