Melinda Gates' Equality Can't Wait campaign gets comedians riled up about gender parity

Sarah Silverman, Ilana Glazer and others join the effort to shorten the time it will take to reach gender equality in the US.

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Erin Carson
2 min read

Carol Burnett and other comedians joined Melinda Gates' Equality Can't Wait campaign.

Video screenshot by Erin Caron/CNET

The World Economic Forum projects it will take 208 years to reach gender equality, economic and otherwise, in the US. In response to that stat, philanthropist Melinda Gates is launching a campaign Tuesday called Equality Can't Wait to raise awareness of the issue. In the process, she got a troop of comedians riled up about it. 

In a video to promote the campaign, comedians including Sarah Silverman, Ilana Glazer, John Mulaney, Maya Rudolph and Carol Burnett reel off quips about having to wait so long. 

"I don't know, 208 years isn't that long. If you're one of those big fucking turtles that lives forever," Mulaney says. 

Jokes Silverman. "And that's why we don't smile more." 

After a few rounds of one-liners, though, the comedians get serious. Glazer talks about how she was treated at a former job after filing a sexual harassment complaint. 

Says Orange is the New Black's Uzo Aduba, "No one that exists on this planet right now as a woman will experience [gender equality]." 

The gender gap refers to economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival and political empowerment. Gates' campaign follows a USA Today op-ed Gates wrote in June. "While 208 is a damning, daunting number, it is not destiny" she said. 

Equality Can't Wait comes at a time of increased attention around gender dynamics via movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp. Tech has seen a long-running battle to bring diversity to an industry that's largely white and male, and one where change comes in small increments

Aside from the video, the campaign calls for people to take actions like donating to organizations that promote gender equality, starting conversations at home, work or elsewhere, and recognizing bias they might have in an effort to reach gender equality sooner.

As Carol Burnett put it: "Two hundred and eight years is no joke."