September 20, 2016

Melinda Gates: The U.N. Must Focus on Gender Equality

Written by Kirsten Salyer

This post originally appeared on Time.

And better data collection

Melinda Gates spoke to TIME about her priorities for the U.N. General Assembly, the need for global gender equality for women and girls, and how best to address the refugee crisis and Zika outbreak.

What are your top priorities at the U.N. General Assembly this year?

Last year was a huge, momentous time at UNGA. The SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) got passed, after all the member nations shaped them and crafted them. To me, this year is really about rolling up our sleeves and saying: “What is it that we need to do? What can we actually get done in health and in issues of gender and equity and in issues around the world so that we can further everything that was set in that agenda?”

We want the world to get better for people; it has been, thank goodness, because of the MDGs (Millennial Development Goals). So much progress has been made because they were a roadmap for the world. We cut maternal mortality in half; we cut childhood mortality in half. Now I’m interested in saying: “With these SDGs, what is it that we can actually accomplish and how do we set about doing that work?” I’ll be talking about the leadership that I’m seeing around those, the need for data, and the importance of the gender and health pieces.

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