Gates Cambridge – Closing Gaps For Good
A 20th anniversary panel discussion debated how Covid-19 has affected gender equality and what can be done about it.
How has Covid affected gender equality and what can we do to bridge the widening gap? Three outstanding scholars in the area and Anita Zaidi, president of the Gates Foundation’s Gender Equality Division, spoke at Closing Gaps for Good: Ensuring Equitable Recovery in a Post-Pandemic World, a panel discussion organised to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Gates Cambridge.
Zaidi discussed the Foundation’s research into how women’s employment has been affected by the pandemic. She said Covid has “unravelled the progress women have made over the last two decades”. Before Covid, it was expected that poverty, which mainly affects women [“poverty is sexist”, stated Zaidi] would fall between 2019 and 2021. Instead it had increased by 9%, affecting around 50 million women across the world. The reasons why women have been disproportionately affected include the impact of Covid on the type of sectors they tend to work in, such as retail and tourism, and the fact that they tend to dominate in part-time and informal work, meaning they often miss out on any support if they can’t work. Moreover, many female small business owners cannot get access to loans.
The discussion was preceded by an interview with Professor Barry Everitt, Provost of the Gates Cambridge Trust, who said the scholarship had been inspired by Bill Gates Sr. who defined the parameters of what makes a Gates Cambridge Scholar: exceptional academic performance, leadership capacity and a commitment to improving the lives of others.
He said the scholarship offered a range of benefits, including family support, as well as access to a “network of brilliant minds” and “a vibrant, diverse community dedicated to improving the lives of others”. Every year around 6,000 people apply for around 80 places. He said there are a great many supremely qualified applicants whom the Trust cannot fund so it would be wonderful to offer more scholarships – and, despite scholars coming from 111 countries to date, the Trust is keen to offer scholarships to even more talented applicants from African countries, South America, The Caribbean and the Middle East.
To find out more about the Gates Cambridge event please visit: https://www.gatescambridge.org/about/news/closing-gender-gaps-for-good/
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