Taking Action for Women and Girls

Taking Action for Women and Girls
Taking Action for Women and Girls

New Rules Summit organizers invited Melinda Gates to contribute action points as a follow-up to her conversation with Nicholas Kristof.

Among the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, No. 5 is near to my heart: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” Since empowered women and girls are a powerful force for change in their families and communities, S.D.G. 5, as it’s known, would mean a better future for everyone else, too. To reach this ambitious, essential goal, here are a few items we should prioritize.

Insist on girls’ education. The world has made tremendous progress toward closing the gender gap in education, but globally, girls are still more likely than boys to miss out on time in the classroom.

Support universal access to contraceptives. When women have the power to decide if and when to have children, they and their families live healthier, better lives, and the effects ripple through generations.

Ensure women have opportunities to earn an income — and, equally important, that they have decision-making power in their households over how the money they earn is spent. The data tells us that economically empowered women make daily choices that help lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

Close the gender gap in unpaid labor, which is the term for household work like cooking, cleaning and caregiving that everywhere in the world tends to fall to women. Over their adult lives, American women do five years’ more unpaid labor than American men; globally, that number rises to seven years.

Get more women in leadership positions, as lawmakers, chief executives and decision makers of all kinds. Recent history has reminded us that when men hold most of the power, it’s far too easy for them to abuse it.

Amplify the voices of young activists. No one has more stake in creating a better, more equal future than they do.

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