Melinda Gates, Jill Sheffield honored with ICRW Champions for Change Awards

Press Release Subtitle

Honored for work fostering gender equity

Press Release Author

Kirsten Sherk

On Tuesday the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) honored Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Jill Sheffield, founder and president of Women Deliver, with its 2016 Champions for Change Awards. The annual awards recognize and honor the leaders and visionaries working to build a more gender equitable world.

“I cannot think of a better place than Women Deliver to recognize such remarkable leaders,” said Sarah Degnan Kambou, president of ICRW. “Across the globe, Melinda and Jill have each had an indelible impact on women’s health and empowerment. The passion, dedication and innovation that they bring to their work have inspired untold numbers to work for a world in which everyone can achieve their full potential.”

The awards were presented by Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, patron of the 2016 Women Deliver conference and a longtime advocate for health, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

“Gender equality is the single most important thing that can be done to improve the world,” said Crown Princess Mary. “ICRW’s initiatives and the work that Jill and Melinda have done to ensure a more equitable world are truly inspirational.”

Gates received the Champions for Change Award for Leadership for her commitment to ensuring that every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life. The Award also recognizes her leadership in galvanizing global momentum toward the empowerment of women and girls around the world.

“Empowered women and girls are the most powerful forces in development; they make life better for everybody,” said Melinda Gates in accepting the award. “Our job as advocates is to make sure that we are supporting women and girls around the world in the right ways. By ensuring that we have more and better data, we can get smarter about creating an agenda, measure the effectiveness of our work, and hold ourselves and others accountable for results.”   

Sheffield was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her enduring dedication to women’s reproductive rights and lasting contributions to the improvement of maternal health across the world.

For 40 years, ICRW has been building the evidence base to inform advocacy, policies and programs to transform the lives of women and girls around the world. Tuesday’s ceremony was the third in a series of Champions for Change events to celebrate ICRW’s 40th anniversary. Other awardees include Dr. Soumya Gupta, for her research on women’s empowerment and nutritional status in India, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for her unwavering commitment to women’s health, well-being and equal citizenship stature, and her courageous vision for legal systems that respect the dignity of all humankind.

For more information at Women Deliver, contact Kirsten Sherk, +1 919-36-6616. Photos available upon request.

Mission Statement:


For 40 years, ICRW has been the premier applied research institute focused on women and girls. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in South Asia and Africa, ICRW provides evidence-based research to inform programs and policies that help alleviate poverty, promote gender equality and protect the rights of women and girls.