LONDON: A new collaboration between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and WTA Charities, WTA leaders and the foundation’s co-chair, Melinda French Gates, convened in London at the weekend to discuss how the two organizations will harness their platforms and resources to further serve the future of women and girls around the world.
As a result, the WTA and the foundation are going to work together to raise awareness about — and money for — women’s health and nutrition around the world. They also will coordinate efforts to promote gender equality and female leadership.
Those gathered for the roundtable conversation included Billie Jean King, Mary Pierce, Pam Shriver, Vania King, Iva Majoli, Cara Black, Daniela Hantuchova, Johanna Konta, Marion Bartoli, Ilana Kloss, Louise Pleming, along with WTA president Micky Lawler and Wimbledon CEO Sally Bolton.
The meeting on Friday marks the beginning of a new alliance for the WTA and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which aims to elevate women’s leadership and voices in support of women’s health, and specifically women’s nutrition, as a major global health priority for the public, donors and partner governments.
From discussing the challenges faced overwhelmingly by women in low-and-middle-income countries and the impact of the global food crisis, French Gates and those around the table outlined a series of immediate objectives for the joint initiative, including recruiting philanthropic investment through WTA channels, raising critical funds with a dedicated tennis-aid program and developing leadership programs that will serve women’s nutrition needs on a global scale.
Asked for an example of how current athletes potentially could help, French Gates mentioned to AP the Women Deliver Conference about gender equality in July 2023 at Kigali, Rwanda.
“We could have tennis players highlighting on their social media channels the importance of these women’s health issues, some of them potentially showing up on stage to help highlight the issues,” she told the newswire, “and calling on their own governments, saying, ‘I want our government to step up and put more money into’ whatever the issue is — maternal mortality, reproductive health.”