Tuesday January 21, 2020
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‘Sexist’ Data- A Barrier to Improve Women’s Lives, Says Bill and Melinda Gates

Gender inequality is one of the greatest barriers to human progress.

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microsoft, melinda gates, the moment of lift
Missing from the memoir is how her relationship with Gates affected her experience at Microsoft. VOA

“Sexist” data is making it harder to improve women’s and girls’ lives, the world’s leading philanthropic couple Bill and Melinda Gates said Tuesday in an open letter.

The couple warned that a lack of focus by researchers on gender and a disdain for what were perceived as “women’s issues” were resulting in “missing data” that could lead to better decisions and policies, enable advocacy and measure progress.

“The data we do have — data that policymakers depend on — is bad. You might even call it sexist,” Melinda Gates wrote in their annual letter discussing the work of their foundation, one of the largest private charities in the world.

Gender inequality is one of the greatest barriers to human progress, the United Nations said last year, with studies showing that when girls stay in education, they have more opportunities and healthier children, which boosts development.

Bill gates, Melinda Gates
“You can’t improve things if you don’t know what’s going on with half the population,” wrote Bill Gates. Pixabay

But data often does not take gender into account and is flawed by biased questions, said the husband and wife team behind the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Because women in developing countries are primarily seen as wives and mothers, most of the data about them focuses on their reproductive health, not their earnings and assets, they said.

“You can’t improve things if you don’t know what’s going on with half the population,” wrote Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft Corp.

The couple said mobile phones offered a powerful tool to allow women to build new connections, gain economic freedom and challenge restrictive social norms, for example by buying contraceptives online.

“If you’re a woman who has never stepped into a bank, mobile banking offers you a foothold in the formal economy and a chance at financial independence,” said Melinda Gates.

Microsoft, Bill gates
Data often does not take gender into account and is flawed by biased questions, said the husband and wife team behind the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Pixabay

“You gain opportunities to connect with customers, trainings, and professional organizations — all from your home.”

Safe toilets

Toilets also emerged as a feminist issue, with the couple hailing a next generation of facilities which can kill pathogens and produce useable by-products such as fertilizer.

Safe toilets worldwide would especially benefit women and girls, they said, who risk assault while using public facilities or may be forced to skip school when on their periods.

International aid groups agreed more of a focus on women and girls was needed.

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“We can’t improve what we fail to measure,” Richard Morgan, international advocacy director at the child rights charity Plan International, told Reuters.

“Bringing visibility to girls and women is the first critical step in improving their lives.” (VOA)

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Bill Gates Officially Surpasses Jeff Bezos as Richest Person on Earth: Report

The Bezos couple finalised their divorce in April in what was reported as the biggest divorce settlement in history, entitling MacKenzie Bezos to Jeff Bezos' stocks worth around $36 billion

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Bill Gates, Fight, Climate Change
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. VOA

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates officially surpassed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at world’s richest person on Earth with a net worth of $110 billion — according to the latest Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The Microsoft co-founder had briefly topped Bezos as the world’s richest man last month after Amazon’s lacklustre Q3 results resulted in Bezos losing nearly $7 billion in stock value.

Bezos ended Gates’ 24-year run as the richest man in 2018 with a net worth of $160 billion.

According to CNN, Gates regained the lead on Friday after Microsoft stock went up nearly 48 per cent this year, helping boost the value of his stake in the tech giant.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and owner of Blue Origin. (Wikimedia Commons)

Amazon’s Cloud arm AWS losing $10 billion Pentagon project to Microsoft has also helped the Satya Nadella-led company gain on the stock market.

Gates debuted on Forbes’ first ever billionaire list in 1987 with a net worth of $1.25 billion.

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Bezos first joined The Forbes 400 list of richest Americans in 1998, one year after Amazon went public, with a net worth of $1.6 billion, the report added.

The Bezos couple finalised their divorce in April in what was reported as the biggest divorce settlement in history, entitling MacKenzie Bezos to Jeff Bezos’ stocks worth around $36 billion. (IANS)