Home » Tsitsi Masiyiwa, Melinda French Gates, others join forces with Co-Impact to launch $1-billion gender fund

Tsitsi Masiyiwa, Melinda French Gates, others join forces with Co-Impact to launch $1-billion gender fund

by Omokolade Ajayi

Zimbabwean social entrepreneur Tsitsi Masiyiwa, Indian businesswoman Roshni Nadar Malhotra and U.S. philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and Melinda French Gates have joined forces with Co-Impact to launch a $1-billion gender fund to advance global equality and women’s leadership.

Co-Impact, a global organization led by a world-class advisory committee of professionals in women’s rights, finance, social change and activism, will lead the $1-billion fund, which aspires to reform institutions to be more equitable and inclusive regardless of gender, class, ethnicity, or color.

The urgency for the fund, which aims to raise and disburse $1 billion over the next 10 years, is more significant than ever, as the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fundamental truths of female inequity and discrimination in our systems, organizations and cultures.

The fund will be used to advance women’s power, agency and leadership at all levels, resulting in more women leading at all levels.

In keeping with the aim to expand total support for gender equality, Co-Impact will allocate at least 10 percent of the funds raised to feminist and women’s rights organizations and movements.

The fund’s full potential will be realized through the diversity and leadership of its supporters, as well as expertise from organizations such as Cartier Philanthropy, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, The Estee Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Target Foundation, and others.

Olivia Leland, founder and CEO of Co-Impact, explained the need for the fund by stating that to make progress on gender equality, there must be a systemic change in the structures, laws, policies and processes of government in how markets function and in how social norms are shaped and enforced.

Masiyiwa commented on the fund, stating: “There is no ‘one’ intervention, organization, or solution that can address every single barrier that is preventing women from living equitable and fulfilling lives.”

“Gender inequality exists and manifests differently in every country, sector, and society around the world. The idea is that each component of the wider ecosystem has its part to play and is therefore eligible for Gender Fund support,” she said.

Gates, a global advocate for women and girls and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, revealed that by collaborating with Co-Impact, the coalition will be able to identify programs that address the barriers preventing women from reaching their potential as leaders.

According to recent research, while financing for gender equality has increased over the previous decade, just one percent of the cash has reached women’s groups.

The fund will bring considerable resources into a woefully underfunded field and address fundamental challenges that women continue to confront, such as abuse, limited reproductive rights, workplace discrimination, and unequal representation in leadership.

Co-Impact intends to expand the fund and assist programs in 13 targeted countries over the next decade, including India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Brazil, Peru and Mexico.

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