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Gates Pledges $1.5 Billion for Women and Children in UN Partnership

By Tom Watson on June 8, 2010One Comment
Melinda Gates in World Economic Forum (Cropped...
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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $1.5 billion this week in alliance with the United Nations to improve the health of women and children around the world – but the dollar figure may be secondary to the other part of the announcement: using the wide reach of the foundation and its name to get more governments and NGOs on board with investing in women and children.

Indeed, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon promised to push the Group of 20 to raise another $15 billion. “We may need an additional $45 billion by 2015,” Ban said this week at the 2010 Women Deliver conference in Washington, where the commitment was made. Melinda Gates said that improving maternal care and child health was “her personal priority.”

“Women and children have been neglected for centuries,” Gates said. “But we can make a new world.” She put an emphasis on getting governments behind health efforts aimed at women and children, continuing to emphasize that philanthropic support alone won’t change enough people’s lives.

“Policymakers in both rich and poor countries have treated women and children as if they matter less than men. They have squandered opportunities to improve their health. The world hasn’t come together to do what’s necessary to save women’s and children’s lives,” Gates said. “Until now.”

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