18 July 2023
KIGALI, Rwanda – The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria applauds GSK and ViiV Healthcare’s combined commitment of US$7.5 million over three years for the Gender Equality Fund, which will help accelerate progress towards gender equality through community engagement and empowerment. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed to match this donation on a 1:1 matching agreement, resulting in US$15 million towards the Global Fund mission.
GSK and ViiV Healthcare have committed to advancing community engagement for gender equality by supporting the influence of women, girls and gender-diverse communities in national strategy, policy and programming relating to gender equality and health.
This pledge was made today at an event on the sidelines of the Women Deliver 2023 Conference in Kigali, Rwanda. The new Gender Equality Fund follows two other successful community-level gender equality and health partnerships that have achieved remarkable results in a short time – the HER Voice Fund and Voix EssentiELLES.
“We are grateful to GSK, ViiV Healthcare, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their continued commitment to improving gender equality, which makes everyone healthier and better able to fulfill their potential,” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “Advancing gender equality requires multi-sectoral and multi-dimensional approaches to empower and sustain community-led interventions.”
Gender equality, community engagement and health are powerfully linked. The inequality and discrimination faced by women, girls and gender-diverse communities puts their health at risk and drives epidemics. Grassroots, community-based and community-led organizations are particularly well-placed to drive sustainable change at the intersection of health and gender equality.
Supporting communities to meaningfully engage in decision-making spaces is a powerful way to advance gender equality, civil society participation and health.
“I strongly believe that if we are going to change the status quo for girls and young women who continuously find themselves marginalized, despite being integral members of their communities, then we are going to have to stand up and lead,” said Sibulele Sibaca, Founder, Impact Drivers and HIV Epidemic Response Ambassador. “The best kind of leadership is peer-to-peer. This is why it is vital that we work with and empower girls and young women to influence girls and other young women.”
Deborah Waterhouse, CEO, ViiV Healthcare and President, GSK Global Health, said: “It is still a fact that globally, adolescent girls, young women and gender-diverse communities experience higher rates of gender-based violence, stigma, and discrimination, contributing to poorer health outcomes and preventing them from realizing their full potential. This is why GSK and ViiV Healthcare are proud to pledge support to the Gender Equality Fund, alongside our trusted partners, to work together to elevate and empower young women in all their diversity to lead and make their voices heard.”
Urgent action is needed to help counter the roll-back of the rights of women, girls and gender-diverse communities; address the societal and structural barriers that prevent them from accessing the health care and services they need; and address shrinking civil society space.