Graça Machel and Melinda Gates: The Impact of COVID-19 on Women & Girls

COVID 19 has unearthed massive inequalities within our societies and brought to glaring light the unique burdens which women carry the world over.

Graça Machel, Founder of the Graça Machel Trust and the Foundation for Community Development and one of the world’s leading advocates for women’s and children’s rights, recently penned an open letter calling on governments, development agencies, and private sectors to take bold actions to mitigate and drive meaningful reconstruction efforts. Machel, the widow of President Nelson Mandela, says, “We have been presented the opportunity to reimagine and redesign our society into a vibrant and equitable one.”

Melinda Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, released a paper on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls. In this paper, she puts forward a set of specific, practical policy recommendations that governments could consider in their pandemic response–to improve health systems, design more inclusive economic policies, gather better data, and prioritize women’s leadership.

Speakers

Graça Machel

African Stateswoman, Leading Social & Political Activist, and Renowned International Advocate for Women’s and Children’s Rights

Ms. Machel is a current member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders who work together for peace and human rights which she co-founded with her husband, former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa. She is also a UN independent expert on the impact of armed conflict on children, international advocate for women’s and children’s rights, former freedom fighter and Education and Culture Minister of Mozambique.

Melinda Gates

Co-chair & Trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Philanthropist, Businesswoman, and Global Advocate for Women and Girls

Through her work at the foundation over the last fifteen years, Melinda has seen first-hand that empowering women and girls can bring transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of families, communities, and societies. In 2012, Melinda spearheaded the London Summit on Family Planning, which adopted the goal of delivering contraceptives to an additional 120 million women in developing countries by 2020. Her work has led her to increasingly focus on gender equity as a path to meaningful change.

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