Her impactful speech was delivered at the recently concluded Women Deliver Conference held in Kigali, Rwanda, from 17th to 20th July 2023.
Melinda attended the conference virtually on its third day, participating in a panel discussion focused on the challenges hindering gender equality and the necessary actions to accelerate progress.
"I get frustrated when some leaders say to my face that, ’we can’t afford to live up to the promises we’ve made to women and girls around the world in times like this,’ not realizing that it’s precisely in ’times like these’ that we need to tear down barriers that stand in the way of this general role," she exclaimed.
Despite the ongoing challenges the world faces from the pandemic, climate change, and the war in Ukraine, Melinda strongly believes that supporting women and girls will lead to more resilient communities and countries.
"I want leaders to understand that if they truly care about pandemic preparedness, hunger, or their National GDP, then they must genuinely care about the health and well-being of women and girls," she emphasized.
Melinda firmly advocates for the empowerment of women, recognizing that "when women have power over their bodies and their money, they transform societies."
Over the years, through the ’Gates Foundation,’ Melinda has collaborated with the Women Deliver Forum to pursue a world where every woman and girl can achieve their full potential. The Gates Foundation strategically invests in health innovations and nutrition tailored to meet women’s unique needs because "healthy women are the backbone of flourishing communities."
Melinda Gates remains optimistic that with the support of over 200,000 partners, including women, significant progress will be made in creating a world that’s better simply because it’s equal.