Equality Can’t Wait. It sounds like a tagline or trending hashtag on Twitter, but it is so much more than just a catchphrase. Thanks to Melinda Gates, it is a powerful movement of men and women joining forces and committing to achieve equality in our lifetime. The World Economic Forum estimates that it will take another 208 years to achieve equality in the United States.

208 years.

Gates founded Equality Can’t Wait to shrink that number, and the movement is quickly gaining momentum. Celebrities, business leaders, authors and influencers have joined her to support and advocate for equality across gender, politics, and economic opportunity. Sarah Silverman, Carol Burnett, Maya Rudolph, Fred Armisen, and several other comedians are featured in a powerful video with Gates declaring “208 years is no joke,” and urging people to get involved so that we can see equality in our lifetime.

Women currently make up 51% of our country’s population yet hold only 24% of the seats in Congress. We are the only developed nation where maternal mortality rates are rising. Women earn more college and graduate degrees than men, but men are seventy percent more likely to be executives than women their same age. In 2018, there were more Fortune 500 CEOs named James than women. Just this month, women officially make up more of the workforce than men. The statistics are numerous, and all add up to a society that has reached its breaking point. We are ready for a change.

208 is a damning, daunting number. What it’s not, however, is destiny.

Melinda Gates

Equality Can’t Wait is Gates’s rejection of another 208 years of inequality. “208 is a damning, daunting number. What it’s not, however, is destiny,” she writes. Gender equality has been severely underfunded in this country. It’s estimated that for every $1 spent on gender equality by private donors there are $9.27 spent on higher education and $4.85 on the arts. Further, 90 percent of money donated to women’s issues is specifically going towards women’s reproductive health. Gates understands that if we are to make progress towards equality we must increase our available resources, and she hopes to do just that with this movement.

Equality Can’t Wait seeks to unite people across sectors around a common goal – equality. It seeks to shrink the number of years until equality is reality. By capitalizing on the momentum created by thousands of organizations dedicated to issues of equality and supporting them through her company Pivotal Ventures, Melinda Gates is hoping to lead the way for all of us to achieve gender equality in our lifetimes. And she knows it’s possible. Twenty years ago she read a statistic in the New York Times that hundreds of thousands of children in developing countries were dying from preventable diseases. Her foundation, along with several other concerned organizations, formed a new organization – Gavi – and have since seen a forty percent decrease in the number of children who die before their fifth birthday.

Like the statistic Gates read in the New York Times two decades ago, the World Economic Forum’s latest findings have again inspired her to start Equality Can’t Wait. Let’s hope the result is the same – that people are inspired to get involved, work together, and decrease the number of years to realize gender equality. Stay In The Game is committed to doing our part by keeping women employed…we hope you’ll join us in the fight because #EqualityCantWait.