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Google pledges $25 million to empower women and girls

The tech giant puts out a call for charitable initiatives to help women and girls get ahead. US Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman Shakira will be among those judging applications.

The next Google Impact Challenge focuses on women and girls.

Google is committing $25 million in grants to nonprofits addressing economic inequities faced by women and girls, as its next Google.org Impact Challenge.

Impact Challenges are a way for Google to give money and support to nonprofits with ideas for working toward solving problems. Past Impact Challenges have covered topics such as artificial intelligence and climate change.

In a blog post Monday, timed for International Women's Day, the tech giant put out a call for applications for charitable initiatives focusing on anything from "barriers to economic equality" to "cultivating entrepreneurship."

"Women and men remain on unequal footing -- and these inequalities have worsened in the wake of COVID-19," Jacquelline Fuller, president of Google's charitable wing Google.org, said in the post. Fuller cited a statistic showing that women in the US alone have lost more than 5.4 million jobs in 2020, according to the National Women's Law Center. 

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, other organizations have also sounded the alarm about what women stand to lose. A September report from McKinsey & Company warned that the pandemic could undo six years worth of progress for women in the workplace.  

Applicants will be judged by a panel including US Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, Google Chief Diversity Officer Melonie Parker and musician Shakira, among others. 

The deadline to apply is April 9, and grant recipients could get between $300,000 and $2 million, as well as non-monetary support like mentorship from Google.