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Gates Foundation commits $2.1B to advance gender equality

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says it will spend $2.1 billion over the next five years to advance global gender equality

Bill and Melinda Gates’ namesake foundation announced Wednesday it will spend $2.1 billion to advance global gender equality. It comes as private donors, government officials and civil society leaders gather at a forum in Paris to make financial and political commitments aimed at aiding women and girls.

Advancing gender equality is a core area for the Seattle-based foundation, the largest private charitable group in the United States with an endowment of nearly $50 billion. It gives about $5 billion annually through its philanthropic work, but it’s future – and leadership structure – have been called into question following Bill and Melinda’s recent divorce.

The foundation’s pledge was made in tandem with the Generation Equality Forum convened by UN Women in Paris. More commitments are expected from donors during the event, which comes nearly a year after the U.N. commemorated the 25th anniversary of the landmark 1995 Beijing women’s conference. About 190 countries had adopted the gender equality roadmap at the 1995 event, but many said last year they had not reached their goals.

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“The world has been fighting for gender equality for decades, but progress has been slow,” Melinda French Gates said in the announcement, adding that it was time to “reignite a movement and deliver real change.”

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The Associated Press receives support from the Lilly Endowment for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofits. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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