Tuesday February 25, 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)

Next Story

World’s Second Richest Man Bill Gates Purchases Hydrogen-Powered Superyacht Worth Rs 4,600 Crore

Hydrogen fuel works by creating electricity to power a battery and motor by mixing hydrogen and oxygen in specially treated plates, which are combined to form the fuel cell stack

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Bill Gates
Gates is a regular superyacht holidaymaker but has not previously owned his own vessel and has preferred to rent during his summer trips. Wikimedia Commons

Microsoft co-founder and the world’s second richest man Bill Gates has commissioned himself a futuristic superyacht that’s powered entirely by liquid hydrogen — meaning its only emission is water — for Rs 4,600 crore.

Gates is a regular superyacht holidaymaker but has not previously owned his own vessel and has preferred to rent during his summer trips.

The plans of buying the superyacht were unveiled at the Monaco Yacht Show last year in December.

Notably, this is the first of its kind being powered by liquid hydrogen.

The luxury liner is 370ft-long and comprises five decks complete with space for 14 guests, 31 crew members, a gym, yoga studio, beauty room, massage parlour and cascading pool on its rear deck, The Daily Mail reported on Sunday.

Bill Gates
Microsoft co-founder and the world’s second richest man Bill Gates has commissioned himself a futuristic superyacht that’s powered entirely by liquid hydrogen — meaning its only emission is water — for Rs 4,600 crore. Wikimedia Commons

Hydrogen fuel works by creating electricity to power a battery and motor by mixing hydrogen and oxygen in specially treated plates, which are combined to form the fuel cell stack.

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The fuel cell stacks and batteries have allowed engineers to significantly shrink these components to even fit neatly inside a family car, although they are also commonly used to fuel buses, other larger vehicles and now superyachts, according to Unilad. (IANS)