Melinda Gates on why we should invest in women in 2018: 'Simply put, women get things done'

The co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and well-known philanthropist kicked off 2018 by writing an op-ed for Time titled, "It's Time for a New Era for Women."It may be a new year, but Melinda Gates is still committed to using her platform and voice to empower women throughout the world.

In the article, Gates examines how powerful, women-led movements and organizations are changing the world, and shares why it's crucial we start investing in them.

"The year 2017 has been a painful reminder that when men hold most of the power it’s all too easy for them to abuse it. But the moment of reckoning prompted by the 'Me Too' conversation has also proven that by coming together and speaking in one voice, women can tip the balance," Gates began.

Melinda Gates through the years:

Melinda Gates through the years
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Melinda Gates through the years
387450 01: Bill and Melinda Gates prepare to tee off August 27, 1994 at Farm Neck Golf Club, Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard. (Photo by Stephen Rose/Liaison)
New York, UNITED STATES: (FILES) Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates (L) and his wife Melinda (R) hold a press conference in New York 02 December to announce a 100 million USD gift to establish the Bill and Melinda Gates Children's Vaccine Program. Time magazine said 18 December, 2005 it had selected rock star-turned-activist Bono and philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates as its 2005 'Persons of the Year.' AFP PHOTO/FILES/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
circa 1998: Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and his wife Melinda stand together, wearing formal attire, New York City. (Photo by Victor Malafronte/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 02: Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and wife Melinda are on hand at a benefit for the charity For All Kids at the Marriott Marquis Hotel. , (Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK CITY - DECEMBER 2: Business mogul Bill Gates and wife Melinda Gates donate $100 Million Dollar Check to the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health on December 2, 1998 at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
SEATTLE, UNITED STATES: Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates looks at his wife Melinda 16 September 1999 during a press conference in Seattle where they announced the Millennium Scholars Program that will provide financial assistance to high-achieving minority students who would otherwise be excluded from higher education. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation program will provide an annual investment of 50 million USD for 20 years. At any given point over 4,000 students per year will be Gates Foundation Millennium Scholars. AFP PHOTO Jeff CHRISTENSEN (Photo credit should read JEFF CHRISTENSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Bill Gates, wife Melinda, & Herbie Handcock during Experience Music Project Opening Gala at Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington, United States. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)
404302 04: Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates arrives at U.S. District Court with his wife Melinda April 22, 2002 in Washington, DC. Gates is taking the witness stand to give his first live testimony since the antitrust case was filed against the software giant in 1998. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
CALCUTTA, INDIA: Melinda Gates (2-L) of the Bill Gates Foundation addresses media representatives during a visit to an HIV-AIDS prevention project in Calcutta, 25 January 2004, as unidentified AIDS volunteer workers look on. Gates met with several of the city's sex workers in various red-light districts and pledged donations to further HIV-AIDS research in India. AFP PHOTO/Deshakalyan CHOWDHURY (Photo credit should read DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images)
CALCUTTA, INDIA: An unidentified Indian sex worker (R) garlands Melinda Gates (L) of the Bill Gates Foundation as she arrives to visit an HIV-AIDS prevention project in Calcutta, 25 January 2004. Gates met with several of the city's sex workers in various red-light districts and pledged donations to further HIV-AIDS research in India. AFP PHOTO/Deshakalyan CHOWDHURY (Photo credit should read DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images)
LONDON - MARCH 2: (NO UK SALES FOR 28 DAYS) HRH Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda pose for photographs after Gates is awarded an honorary knighthood at Buckingham Palace on March 2, 2005 in London, England. Mr Gates received a Knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his outstanding contribution to enterprise, employment, education and the voluntary sector in the UK, and his contributions to poverty reduction . (Photo by Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)
Melinda French Gates (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/WireImage for RCS & Co.) *** Local Caption ***
Bill and Melinda Gates attend the swimming competition. (Photo by liewig christian/Corbis via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JUNE 07: Melinda Gates speaks during a luncheon during the 2010 Women Deliver Conference at The Walter E. Washington Convention Center on June 7, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY MARIANNA BARRIAUX Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Melinda Gates poses, on October 14, 2014 in Paris. omen are key to boosting economic growth in Africa and the developing world, Melinda Gates said Tuesday, as she stopped off in Paris to press crisis-hit France to keep funding projects for women and girls. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
SQUAWK BOX -- Pictured: Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates, in an interview on May 5, 2015 -- (Photo by: Lacy O'Toole/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

"Thanks to these brave women, men are being held accountable for their actions as never before. It’s easy to dismiss the whispers of one woman. It’s much harder to ignore a movement."

Gates went on to highlight some of the most successful women's movements in the world, which have taken place everywhere from Pakistan and Ethiopia to Indonesia. 

"Simply put, women get things done," she wrote.

For that reason, among many others, Gates has a request: invest in women. "If we want to change the world, we should invest in the people who already are. In 2018 that will mean challenging ourselves to do a better job of finding and funding grassroots women’s movements."

In 2018, Gates wants people everywhere to work harder to support and appreciate women, their talents, and their potential. "Right now, less than 2% of global funding for gender issues goes to local women’s organizations," she noted, encouraging people to make raising funds for grassroots women's movements a priority.

Gates explained that women are motivated by personal impact on issues, which is one of the things that makes their efforts so remarkable. 

"Women’s organizations help drive progress that is more inclusive and sustainable. What makes their track record even more remarkable is that many local women’s organizations are running on a median budget of just $20,000 a year," she wrote. "Considering their enormous potential to make life better for all of us, I think it’s time we give them a raise."

In 2018 and the coming years, Gates explained she and her husband Bill will work towards investing in women's movements such as Mama Cash and Prospera — international women's funds and networks that work to financially support women, girls, and transgender people.

Gates wrote another op-ed for Time in November on sexual harassment faced by women in the world, sharing that while 2017 was a tough year, the powerful movement that arose from the pain has left her hopeful.


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