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International Women’s Day Statement

March 8, 2019

March 8th is International Women’s Day. Today we celebrate the strength and diversity of women and reaffirm our commitment to achieving gender equality and ensuring gender equity in all of our programs and research.

The Foundation strives to secure women’s involvement in the leadership of the organization, in the leadership of institutions submitting proposals, in capacity-building programs, as the participants of research, and as the implementers and beneficiaries of our initiatives. Through our grantmaking processes and the work of our grantees, we are building inclusive ecosystems with intentionality, creating an enabling environment for the personal and professional empowerment of women.

We are actively expanding the evidence base for gender-responsive and women-specific solutions. The Foundation is progressive, unique, and exhibits strong leadership in its dedication to comprehensively understanding the sex- and gender-based biological, social, and cultural dimensions of health and economic development as we advance progress toward ending smoking and transitioning smallholder tobacco farmers to alternative livelihoods.

We know that bureaucracy and ticking boxes will not drive change. Our forthcoming Gender Policy provides actionable guidance to grantees to bridge the gap between policy and practice with gender equity.

The Gender Policy addresses each pillar of our strategic framework:

Health, Science, and Technology

Research and new developments in smoking cessation and tobacco harm reduction have been largely gender-blind to date and overlook the diverse and unique needs of women. Our grantees will apply sex- and gender-based analysis to develop better technology and products to aid smoking cessation.

Agriculture and Livelihoods

Women are the backbone of agriculture in low- and middle-income countries, constituting 80% of the agricultural labor force in Malawi. Our grantees will address women’s marginalization and limited opportunity and identify equitable opportunities for economic growth.

Industry Transformation

Industry progress toward a smoke-free world and gender equality are mutually supportive. The Foundation will encourage investors to assert their power to accelerate gender equality by prioritizing companies that embrace the advancement of women and develop products that benefit women.