On Wednesday, Melinda Gates announced a $1 billion commitment over the next decade to promote gender equality in the United States. Gates, who is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and founder of the investment firm Pivotal Ventures, penned an op-ed in Time magazine outlining her reasons for making the investment.
“I want to see more women in the position to make decisions, control resources, and shape policies and perspectives,” Gates writes. “I believe that women’s potential is worth investing in—and the people and organizations working to improve women’s lives are, too.”
According to Gates, Pivotal Ventures will extend resources to “new and established partners” that seek to expand the power and influence of women in the marketplace. It doesn’t have a full plan just yet, but Gates says the organization will have three main priorities: removing barriers to women’s professional advancement; fast-tracking women in sectors like tech, media, and government; and “mobilizing shareholders” into pressuring companies to make reforms in support of gender equality.
“Equality can’t wait, and no one in a position to act should either,” Gates says. “We are right to be outraged. But we’re also right to be optimistic. Americans are no longer willing to accept the glacial pace of change — and I feel lucky to be alive at a time when we no longer have to.”