Friday 13th March 2015
In honor of International Women’s Day 2015 and the 20th anniversary of the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation unveiled the No Ceilings Full Participation Report on March 8. The report analyzes the gains women have made since 1995 via 850,000 data points that span more than 20 years and over 190 countries.
The report’s launch event, Not There Yet: A Data Driven Analysis of Gender Equality, was held March 9 in New York. The gathering featured a host of prominent speakers from around the world, including Her Excellency Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President of the Republic of Croatia; Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia; Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security; and Malala Yousafzai, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Co-Founder of the Malala Fund. Former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Melinda Gates and Chelsea Clinton headlined the event.
The key takeaway from the program was that while we have made progress in the past two decades, we still have a long way to go before we achieve the full participation of women and girls — the great unfinished business of the 21st century, according to Sec. Clinton. If the current rate of progress continues, it will take 80 years to reach this goal.
“There has never been a better time in history to be born female,” Sec. Clinton said at the start of the program. But, she continued, “The data also shows how far we still have to go.”
A major finding of the No Ceilings data showed the gaps for women are particularly wide in terms of economic participation.
“In more than 150 countries, women still lack the protections critical to economic participation — for example, the legal right to own or purchase property or to take out a loan,” Gates said. “Women everywhere still are denied equal pay for equal work.”
She pointed out that by adding these protections and better supporting women entrepreneurs, we will also be supporting whole families, as well as local and global economies.
“When women have income in their hands, they invest in their families,” Gates said. “When you invest in a woman, you’re investing in everyone else.”
Near the close of the event, Sec. Clinton and Ambassador Verveer reminded the assembly that women are much more than casualties of the system; they are also capable, powerful leaders and forces of economic and political growth.
“Women are not just victims. They are agents of change and drivers of progress,” Sec. Clinton said. “The last 20 years tell us progress is possible, and the data provides us a roadmap for the unfinished business that remains.”
You can explore the stories told by the data and download the full report here.