White Paper: A Conceptual Model of Women and Girls' Empowerment

What does the empowerment of women and girls mean for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation?

This white paper responds to the growing interest in gender equality by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and takes existing initiatives a step further by articulating what empowerment of women and girls means for the foundation. It presents a conceptual model for empowerment of women and girls that is informed by existing empowerment frameworks and approaches and tailored to foundation policies and practices.

The aim of the white paper is to:

  • Provide conceptual clarity on what empowerment of women and girls means for the foundation;
  • Provide a common language for the foundation, its staff and its grantees for use in their work on empowerment of women and girls;
  • Stimulate ownership and buy-in of foundation staff at different levels.

This conceptual model builds on the case made for gender-intentional planning which differentiates between development and health outcomes on the one hand and gender equality and women’s empowerment outcomes on the other. The two can be linked but only by applying a gender lens to explicitly identify and intentionally engage with gender inequalities. If this is done well, then it will be possible to achieve both positive sector and gender equality outcomes.

About this Publication

By Newton, J., Pennington, A., Tyszler, M., Vaast, C., van Eerdewijk, A. , Wong, F.