- In recent interviews, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has said the geography – where you are born – is the single biggest driver of your lot in life.
- Gender also plays a major role.
- Gates is on media tour discussing the 2019 Goalkeeper Report, which tracks the progress of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
- Instead of taking the typical “trickle down” approach to reducing global inequality, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is taking a faster, targeted approach.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
According to Bill Gates, global inequality has been driven down in the last two decades, but there’s still a long way to go.
Some factors – geography, plus gender – stand out as major determinants.
Here’s a rundown.
Gates is coming out with his foundation’s third annual Goalkeepers Report.
- John Lamparski/Getty Images
In an interview with Bloomberg financial correspondent Erik Schatzker on Tuesday, Gates discussed why gender and geography are the two biggest obstacles to fixing global inequality. Gates sat down with Schatzker to promote third annual Goalkeepers Report, created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which tracks the progress of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. Those 17 goals include eliminating poverty, taking action against climate change, and ensuring gender equality.
According to the report, the single biggest factor determining your health, success, and overall well-being is where you were born.
- The Conversation
A region like the Sahel – a band of sub-Saharan countries including Mali, Niger, and Chad – is more likely to face an issue such as child mortality. A child in Chad, for example, is 55 times more likely to die than a child in Finland. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation plans to make that statistic a thing of the past.
“The world is rich enough that the basic medicines – nothing fancy, nothing super expensive – should get to all those children,” Gates told Schatzker. “Likewise, in a lot of countries, girls are still not getting nearly the education or the opportunities that men are.”
Gender equality is key for economic growth, says Gates.
- Gates Archive Poa Health Center in Poa, Burkina Faso on January 23, 2018
The report’s gender equality section notes that the average woman spends over four hours a day doing unpaid work. This includes childcare and other household chores. When women marry young, receive less education than men, and take care of children, their opportunities become increasingly limited over time.
Gates also said that gender equality is great for both men and women, especially in terms of economic growth. “When you do that right, it really uplifts everyone,” he said.
Geography influences global inequality more than any other factor.
- Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Geography doesn’t just keep people stuck in their current socio-economic situations, Gates said. It also keeps them out of sight from people in wealthier countries, which slows progress.
“If the people whose children were dying or had malnutrition were in your neighborhood, then you would immediately organize a group and step up and make sure the problem is eliminated,” he said.
The Gates Foundation takes a targeted approach to solve global inequality.
- Getty Images
In an op-ed in the Atlantic on Tuesday, Bill and Melinda Gates said the “trickle down” approach to eliminating poverty works, but it doesn’t work fast enough. They plan to take a targeted approach.
Using data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the foundation has examined inequality in foreign countries on a deeper level. Their plan involves, according to the op-ed, “identifying those in need, analyzing how to help, and delivering solutions directly to them.”
In an interview with Axios co-founder Mike Allen, Gates said that poor countries have made immense progress in the last 20 years.
“People think, ‘Hey, Africa is in tough shape,'” Gates told Allen. “They don’t realize that in terms of literacy and child survival, it’s in dramatically better shape today than it has ever been.”