The inspiring philanthropist plans to promote gender equality during the next decade.

By Emily Pidgeon


Posted on October 3, 2019

Melinda Gates is working to empower women by committing US$1 billion to promote gender equality within the next decade.

The co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced her inspiring decision through a column published on TIME.

The businesswoman says she feels “frustrated, even heartbroken” to know the 2019 US Fortune 500 list only featured one CEO who is a woman of colour, and in 2018, there were more men named James running Fortune 500 companies than there were women.

“Over the next 10 years, I am committing US$1 billion to expanding women’s power and influence in the United States,” Gates shared. “I want to see more women in the position to make decisions, control resources, and shape policies and perspectives.

“I believe that women’s potential is worth investing in – and the people and organisations working to improve women’s lives are too.”

Gates, who founded Pivotal Ventures, explained she doesn’t want the attention towards gender equality to one day cease, instead positive discussions and actions have to continue and not “amount to a temporary swell instead of a sea change”.

“There is too much at stake to allow that to happen,” Gates wrote. “Too many people – women and men – have worked too hard to get us this far. And there are too many possible solutions we haven’t tried yet.”

The philanthropist, who is worth a collective US$107 billion with husband Bill Gates, shared that she hopes her incredible action will inspire others to commit to promoting equality.

Gates, who is ranked Forbes’ 6th most powerful woman of 2018, claims Pivotal Ventures will dismantle barriers to women’s professional advancement, create new pathways into industries that underrepresent women and mobilise shareholders, consumers and employees to create pressure on companies – all within the next 10 years.

Inspiring humanitarian acts isn’t something new to Gates. The 55-year-old founded the world’s largest private charitable foundation with a US$40 billion trust endowment in 2000 and more recently launched her investment and incubation brand, Pivotal Ventures.

The venture company aims to close the funding gap for female founders.

“We are right to be outraged. But we’re also right to be optimistic,” Gates says. “Equality can’t wait, and no one in a position to act should either.”