Giving Compass' Take:

• The Global Gender Gap Index estimates that it will take the U.S. another 208 years to reach gender equality. Here, Melinda Gates calls for action to achieve gender equality through investment and collaboration. 

• What are some examples of how donors can invest in strengthening gender equality in the U.S.? 

• One way to achieve gender equality is to join a women's giving circle. 

Based on data from its widely-respected Global Gender Gap Index, WEF estimates that it will take the United States another 208 years to reach gender equality. You read that right. At the current pace of change, gender equality won’t arrive in the U.S. until the year 2227.

Underneath triumphant headlines about women running for office in record numbers, changing the face of Congress and breaking glass ceilings are trend lines that tell a much more somber story about the pace of progress for women in our country.

Although women now earn college and graduate degrees at higher rates than men, they remain concentrated in certain majors and, early in their careers, they are often channeled into less lucrative jobs. Men are 70% more likely to be executives than women their same age. In 2018, there were more Fortune 500 CEOs named James than there were women.

WEF’s projection also reflects the grim reality that the U.S. is the only industrialized nation where maternal mortality rates are actually getting worse. The risks are especially high for African American women, who are three to four times more likely to die during or after delivery than white women.

While 208 is a damning, daunting number, it is not destiny. The projection is based on the assumption that the rate of change will remain constant. If we can accelerate the pace of progress, that number will start to go down. And therein lies our call to action.

Once again, we find ourselves facing an urgent challenge that calls for new investment and collaboration. Shrinking the number 208 is going to require many people across many sectors. But I believe progress is possible, and as a philanthropist, I’m particularly interested in the role that philanthropy can play in accelerating it.

Read the full article about fighting for gender equality by Melinda Gates at USA TODAY.