Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Announces $80 Million Over Three Years to Close Gender Data Gaps and Accelerate Progress for Women and Girls
The McKinsey Global Institute Releases New Report Providing Roadmap for Action and Investment Toward Gender Equality
Copenhagen, Denmark (17 May 2016) – On the second day of the Women Deliver 2016 Conference,
global leaders emphasized that investing in solutions that advance the health, rights and wellbeing of
girls and women will drive economic growth and development and ignite change across communities.
Plenary sessions and partner announcements showcased how when girls and women are given equal
opportunities – whether in education, family planning, innovation or sport – societies are healthier,
more productive and more stable.
During today’s morning plenary session, Melinda Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
announced a three-year, $80 million commitment to close the gender data gap. More reliable data
about women’s lives, such as time spent on unpaid work or farming, is needed to inform policy and
programs and accelerate progress for women and girls. This funding will help fill critical gender data
gaps; improve the accuracy and reliability of data collection; equip decision makers with better
evidence; and support civil society’s efforts to hold leaders accountable for their commitments.
“It’s great that women and girls are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals. But right now
there is insufficient data to build a baseline for nearly 80% of SDG 5 indicators,” said Melinda Gates, Cochair
of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, at today’s morning plenary session. “If advocacy for
women and girls is about giving voice to the voiceless – gathering and analyzing data is about making
the invisible visible.”
Also at the Conference today, the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) released a new discussion paper,
Delivering the power of parity: Toward a more gender-equal society, which provides an agenda for
action and investment toward gender equality. MGI finds that achieving the economic potential of
women and making progress toward the United Nations’ recently-adopted Sustainable Development
Goals will require $1.5 trillion-$2 trillion in annual spending on essential services in 2025—but the
potential economic gains could be six to eight times this outlay. Previous MGI research found that if
every country bridged its gender gap at the same historical rate as its fastest-improving regional peer,
the world could add $12 trillion to annual GDP in 2025, an 11 percent boost over current trends.
“Narrowing the gender gap can unleash massive growth,” says Vivian Hunt, managing partner of
McKinsey's United Kingdom and Ireland offices. “But in order to realize the $12 trillion opportunity that
comes from advancing gender equality in the world of work, we have to tackle gender gaps in society
more broadly. Our new analysis finds that the economic benefits of narrowing gender gaps far outweigh
the additional social spending required."
Among the key findings, McKinsey pinpoints six areas where improved access to services could unlock
economic opportunities for women: education; family planning; maternal health; financial inclusion;
digital inclusion; and assistance with unpaid care work. In each of these areas, MGI explores how many
women and men could be empowered through concerted action and how much investment would be
“Investing in gender equality – and in girls’ and women’s health – is investing in human progress,” said
Katja Iversen, CEO of Women Deliver. “A woman multiplies investments made in her future by creating
a better life for herself and her family, community and society. The announcements today show the
ripple effect that these investments have for society and the world.”
In addition to the McKinsey Global Institute and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announcements,
Bayer announced the launch of a new Youth Ambassador Program as a part of the World Contraception
Day initiative. The program, launched with Women Deliver, aims to reach out to young people
worldwide and to directly involve them in ‘youth-to-youth’ awareness-raising activities on topics such as
sexuality and contraception.
A full archive of partner press releases and news announcements coming out of the Women Deliver
2016 Conference can be found here.
Women Deliver 2016 continues through Thursday, 19 May, with discussions on the final two days
Wednesday, 18 May
• Investing in Girls and Women: Everybody Wins: Investments in women have major pay-offs. This
panel will present examples of notable successes as well outline what is needed to make progress.
• Making the SDGs Work for Girls and Women: Regional Perspectives: This session will present
regional views on SDGs, as well as specific regional challenges and solutions, from Latin America,
Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
• Powerful Women: This session focuses on powerful women in different areas of work and their
personal and professional challenges – what would make them feel their power was well used? Do
they think of themselves as powerful? Do they think they use and see power differently than men?
Thursday, 19 May
• Look to the Future, Part 1: Transformation, Innovation and Partnership: This plenary will focus on
the need to change as the world changes and present innovative strategies for social transformation
through communications, as well as government, private and NGO partnerships.
• Look to the Future, Part 2: The State of Philanthropy: This session will feature an in-depth
discussion about the role philanthropy can play in ensuring that resources are available to
implement the SDGs in ways that benefit girls and women.
• Men with Power: Delivering for Girls and Women: On this panel, men who have committed
themselves to women’s empowerment, health and wellbeing will discuss how they see men’s role in
driving progress for women.
• Be the Change You Want to See: Global leaders and celebrities advocates have been invited to
speak on what they commit to change and how they model that change in their own lives.
About Women Deliver: Women Deliver believes that when the world invests in girls and women,
everybody wins. As a leading global advocate for girls’ and women’s health, rights and wellbeing,
Women Deliver brings together diverse voices and interests to drive progress, particularly in maternal,
sexual and reproductive health and rights. It builds capacity, shares solutions and forges partnerships,
together creating coalitions, communication and action that spark political commitment and investment
in girls and women.
Social Media: To learn more about Women Deliver, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Follow the hashtags: #WD2016 and #WDLive
Women Deliver Live: Register here to tune into Women Deliver Live – our online hub for downloadable
footage of all Conference plenaries, select concurrent sessions, press conferences, and much more.
Media Resources: Online media resources – including the press program, press releases and 2016 b-roll
– are available in the Women Deliver Virtual Press Room. Official photographs can be found on Flickr.