Women Are Changing The World And Melinda Gates Thinks It’s Time To Invest In Their Success

"Imagine how much more we can accomplish ..."

While most of us are already struggling to stick to our new year's resolutions, Melinda Gates — co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — began 2018 by writing an op-ed for Time, which was guest edited by her husband, Bill Gates. In the piece, which is called "It's Time for a New Era for Women," Gates argues that this is the year it is time to start investing more in women.


As Gates sees it, many of the powerful women-led movements we saw in 2017 — such as the record-breaking Women's March nearly a year ago and the #MeToo campaign — are a sign women are changing the world, so it's about time we start investing resources in them accordingly. "The year 2017 has been a painful reminder that when men hold most of the power it's all too easy for them to abuse it. But the moment of reckoning prompted by the 'Me Too' conversation has also proven that by coming together and speaking in one voice, women can tip the balance," she wrote. "Thanks to these brave women, men are being held accountable for their actions as never before. It's easy to dismiss the whispers of one woman. It's much harder to ignore a movement."

After detailing several prominent women's movements around the world, such as the recent women-led campaign for workers' rights in Pakistan and an end to Liberia's brutal civil war in 2003, which was propelled by women, Gates posits why movements led by women are so successful. As she explained, "women get things done."

According to a Medium post written by Erin Hohlfelder, who is involved in gender equality advocacy at The Gates Foundation, there's a plethora of data to support such a claim. "Rigorous research in 70 countries over four decades showed that women's movements were more effective at creating and sustaining policy change, particularly on violence against women, than many other factors including countries' economic growth and political leadership," Hohlfelder wrote.

Given said research and how little financial support is given to women's movements and organizations — many local women's organizations run on a median budget of just $20,000 a year — Gates knows it's time for a change. "If we want to change the world, we should invest in the people who already are. In 2018 that will mean challenging ourselves to do a better job of finding and funding grassroots women's movements," she declared, noting governments in other countries have invested significant resources in women's movements and been met with success.

"Imagine what's possible if the world decides to partner with these organizers as their allies. Imagine how much more we can accomplish if the women who are doing so much to move the world forward finally have our full support behind them," she concluded. "I'm hopeful that in 2018, we'll do more than imagine that future. We'll start making it a reality."

Gates struck a similarly hopeful and optimistic tone back in November when she wrote an op-ed for Time in the midst of the #MeToo movement, encouraging women to stand together and raise their voices. At the time she said, "By raising our voices, we protect each other. Each woman who speaks up about her own experience is making it easier for other women to do the same. And because of the strength in our numbers, the institutions that have enabled systemic sexism and discrimination are starting to act — to fire, to expel, to ostracize, to pass laws. To change."


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