5 Best Charities That Benefit Women And Girls According To Melinda Gates

    Melinda Gates, arguably the most powerful woman in philanthropy, shares her top five picks for charities that benefit women and girls across the world. Update: Consider donating what you can for this year's International Women's Day. Every bit counts.

    This post was originally written in December 2014, for Giving Tuesday. We're choosing to re-promote it on March 8, for International Women's Day.

    In our original story, Melinda Gates told BuzzFeed: "At the very least, women everywhere in the world need three things to be able to reach their full potential: health, decision-making power, and economic opportunities." Each of the charities listed below helps to accomplish at least one of those things. If you have any money to spare, consider donating to one or several of these worthy organizations.

    Happy #WomensDay, everyone.

    After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, charities, business, students, families, and individuals across the world will take a day to focus on giving back and helping those in need. It's called Giving Tuesday, and it happens on the first Tuesday of December — December 2, 2014 this year.

    For Giving Tuesday 2014, Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, shared her top five recommendations for charities that benefit women and girls across the world.

    "At the very least, women everywhere in the world need three things to be able to reach their full potential: health, decision-making power, and economic opportunities," Gates told BuzzFeed.

    Each of the following charities helps contribute to at least one of those pillars.

    1. The United Nations Foundation's Shot@Life campaign

    The Shot@Life campaign provides vaccines to children in need, and conducts vaccine awareness and advocacy. And this is incredibly important work — 1.5 million children die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year.

    Bill and Melinda Gates co-wrote a blog post about the charity, and why they're choosing to donate to it. From their post:

    We like to say vaccines are miracles because they have literally saved the lives of millions of children. In fact, in the last 20 years, child deaths have fallen by almost 50%, and vaccines are a big part of that story. That is remarkable progress.

    But, there are still far too many children living in poor countries who do not get the vaccines they need to grow up healthy and thrive. That's why we're encouraging people to give to the United Nations Foundation's Shot@Life campaign that helps get life-saving vaccines to the children who need them most.

    And then there's this: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will match all contributions made to Shot@Life on December 2, 2014. So your donation goes twice as far.

    Donate here.

    2. Population Services International

    View this video on YouTube


    Population Services International is a nonprofit organization devoted to tackling the greatest health challenges in the developing world. That includes improving family planning and maternal healthcare, HIV and AIDS education and prevention, and targeting diseases that kill children under five (like malaria, pneumonia, and malnutrition).

    From the PSI website:

    PSI has an uncompromising focus on measurable health impact and measures its effect on disease and death much like a for-profit measures its profits. Just last year PSI saved the lives of 15,441 mothers, prevented 5,644,400 unintended pregnancies, stopped 254,792 new HIV infections, and avoided 273,740 deaths due to diseases like malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia that most threaten young children.

    Donate here.

    3. Tostan

    View this video on YouTube


    Tostan uses a human rights-based approach to community empowerment and sustainable development programs across Africa. Their education programs are inclusive and nonjudgmental, and they work with community members to help enact change that benefits women and girls.

    According to their website, their programs have resulted in 19K+ women selected into community leadership positions, 7,000+ communities publicly declaring they will not allow their daughters to marry before age 18, and 3 million plus people living in communities that have sworn an end to female genital cutting.

    Donate here.

    4. Girls Not Brides

    View this video on YouTube


    Girls Not Brides is a partnership of over 400 organizations from 60 countries across the world, all dedicated to ending the practice of child marriage. Per their website, 15 million girls are married before they turn 18 every year. Watch a quick YouTube video about their work and mission here:

    View this video on YouTube


    Donate — and learn to help educate and spread the word — here. And share this video below if you get a moment to help raise awareness.

    5. Heifer International