Grand Challenge: Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is launching a new Grand Challenge: Putting Women and Girls at the Center of Development. This challenge focuses on how to effectively reach and empower the most vulnerable women and girls to improve health and development – including economic – outcomes as well as gender equality.

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Gender inequalities and the marginalization of the needs, roles and potential of women and girls are key factors limiting advances in development outcomes for all – women, men, boys, girls and their communities and societies around the world. Moreover, strong associations have been identified between addressing inequalities and enhancing women and girls’ empowerment and agency, and improved development outcomes across sectors, ranging from maternal, newborn, and child health and nutrition to agriculture, water, sanitation, hygiene and financial services for the poor.

The ultimate goal of this challenge is to accelerate discovery of how to most effectively and intentionally identify and address gender inequalities and how this relates to sectoral outcomes; scale-up approaches known to work, in context-relevant ways; and do more to develop better measures of the impact of approaches to enhance women’s and girls’ empowerment and agency. Intentional efforts and strategies are required so that development can contribute more to gender equality and gender equality can contribute more to development.

Grants will go to investigators in low- and middle-income countries, but we encourage partnerships with investigators in other countries, especially where the opportunity exists to build on existing collaborations.

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