Melinda Gates pledges $1 billion to promote gender equality

iStock(NEW YORK) — Melinda Gates has pledged to donate a whopping $1 billion to promote gender equality in the United States.

The famous philanthropist made the announcement in an op-ed published on Time’s website on Wednesday, stating that only one CEO of a list of 500 is a woman and that although women make up 51% of the American population, just 24% of the seats in Congress are held by them.

“My reaction to facts like these is a complicated mix of outrage and optimism. I imagine I’m not alone,” Gates wrote. “It’s frustrating — even heartbreaking — to confront evidence of the many ways our country continues to hold women back.”

Gates wrote that the fact that people are talking about issues surrounding gender inequality is a “sign of progress,” but she fears that the moment will not “last forever.”

“I imagine waking up one morning to find that the country has moved on,” she said. “That the media has stopped reporting on systemic inequalities. That diversity remains something companies talk about instead of prioritizing. That all of this energy and attention has amounted to a temporary swell instead of a sea change.”

Gates’ $1 billion contribution to “expanding women’s power and influence in the United States” will be donated over the next 10 years, she said.

She will use her company, Pivotal Ventures, to put resources behind “new and established partners taking innovative and diverse approaches to expanding women’s power and influence.”

“I want to see more women in the position to make decisions, control resources, and shape policies and perspectives,” she wrote. “I believe that women’s potential is worth investing in — and the people and organizations working to improve women’s lives are, too.”

While Gates admitted that the donation is “a lot of money,” she described her contribution as “only a small fraction of what’s necessary.”

Gates and her husband, Bill Gates, often donate large sums of money to charitable causes through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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