Melinda Gates: Keeping Promise to 120 Million Women & Girls Means a Better Future for Everyone
This week was a first for me — never before have I had to change my plans because of a volcano. You may have heard about the ash cloud above Mount Rinjani that closed Bali airport in Indonesia for several days. Well, it not only stranded thousands of tourists, it meant a hugely important conference on family planning was postponed.
I was really disappointed. A lot of people had worked incredibly hard to put on a successful event. Even more frustrating is that we have so much to do, and so little time — and this was our opportunity to accelerate progress.
It may not seem like it to those of us for whom deciding if and when to have children — or how many to have — involves little more than a trip to the doctor or the pharmacy. But for many women and girls there is, in the words of a young woman I met recently in Niger, no other option but to hope and pray.
We are at a critical moment. Sushma and Manju represent the two futures that lie ahead of us: One is full of promise, the other is a broken promise. The International Conference on Family Planning may have been put off, but 120 million women and girls can’t wait for us to act.