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Melinda Gates: Women are marginalised — even on COVID-19 task forces worldwide

Melinda Gates: Women are marginalised — even on COVID-19 task forces worldwide
July 03
21:30 2021

Melinda French Gates, the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), says women are marginalised in too many ways — even on COVID-19 task forces globally. 

Speaking at the Generation Equality Pan-Africa Media Roundtable attended by TheCable, French Gates said despite having women make up 70 percent of healthcare workers, only 24 percent of COVID-19 task force globally are women.

“If you look at the 225 COVID-19 task forces that have been created during COVID across 137 countries, only 24% of the members of those COVID task forces are women,” she said.

“But women are over 70% of healthcare workers, and so it’s women who are taking care of everybody in society during this time.


“They’re the ones that know the solutions, but you’ve got to have them at 50% of people on the task force, just like they ought to be 50% of everybody in government.”

French Gates called for “more women at the very tops of governments”.

“We know that when you have women in positions of power, they use their power, their influence to push forward laws and policies and resources that make a difference for women.


“And so having more women in parliaments, and as presidents, and prime ministers, and, frankly, finance ministers, in those areas; we need to see far more women in power.”

So I’m looking forward to a world when we look back 25 years from now and say “how could it have been that low? Now we’re finally near or at 50%”.


Speaking to caregiving and unpaid labour, French Gates said the COVID-19 pandemic increased how much unpaid work women do, globally.

“Women do – on average around the world – seven hours more of unpaid labour than men do, and that’s only increased during the pandemic,” she added.


“It has exposed all the caregiving women do for children and the elderly, some of which is loving work we want to do, and much of it is also chores, quite frankly, that need to get done in the house.

She said different governments around the world would step up their caregiving systems, and make announcements on how “they’re going to bolster them not only in their own countries, but also put money forward for good caregiving innovations and policies in other countries”. 

The Gates Foundation recently committed $2.1 billion to advance gender equality, part of which the foundation said $650 million will be going towards the “Economic Justice & Rights Action Coalition”.



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