$40B pledged for gender equality, with $2B from Gates group

The U.N.-sponsored global gathering for gender equality generated about $40 billion in pledges towards aiding women and girls on Wednesday, partly fueled by a significant $2.1 billion contribution from Bill and Melinda Gates’ namesake foundation

The U.N.-sponsored global gathering for gender equality generated about $40 billion in pledges towards aiding women and girls on Wednesday, partly fueled by a significant $2.1 billion contribution from Bill and Melinda Gates’ namesake foundation.

Jeannie Sager, the director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University, says the litany of announcements promise greater action for gender equality, and adds to the collective urgency the forum has championed on the issue.

The event comes nearly a year after the U.N. commemorated 25th anniversary of the landmark 1995 Beijing women’s conference. About 190 countries adopted the gender equality roadmap at the 1995 event, but many said last year they had not reached their goals.

“The world has been fighting for gender equality for decades, but progress has been slow,” Melinda French Gates said in the Gates Foundation announcement, adding that it was time to “reignite a movement and deliver real change.”

Advancing gender equality is a core area for the Seattle-based foundation, the largest private charitable group in the United States with an endowment of nearly $50 billion. It gives about $5 billion annually through its philanthropic work, but it’s future - and leadership structure - have been called into question following Bill and Melinda’s recent divorce.

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The Associated Press receives support from the Lilly Endowment for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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