Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates

Cochair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Melinda Gates, co chair and founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in Kirkland, Washington, in March 2019.

Melinda Gates has long been in the spotlight for the significant philanthropic work she shares with her husband. But in October, Gates took a big step on her own, committing $1 billion in a push toward gender equality.

The effort is being funded through her company, Pivotal Ventures, and will finance people who are taking innovative and diverse approaches to expanding women’s power and influence.

The money will go toward dismantling barriers to women’s professional advancement by tackling issues like sexual harassment and discrimination and alleviating the burden of caregiving responsibilities that fall on women. It will direct resources to women in influential fields such as technology, media and politics, while pushing shareholders, consumers and employees to pressure companies for change.

Gates, who has a degree in computer science from Duke University and an MBA from its Fuqua School of Business, joined Microsoft as a marketing manager and rose to become the general manager before marrying Bill Gates, whom she met on the job, and turning her focus to philanthropy.

Her experience working in Microsoft’s male-dominated environment led to her interest in gender issues, and in 2019, she turned these ideas into a book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.

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