Melinda French Gates

Co-chair and Trustee

Melinda French Gates is a philanthropist, businesswoman, and global advocate for women and girls. As co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she shapes and approves the foundation’s strategies, reviews results, and sets the organization’s overall direction. She works with grantees and partners to further the foundation’s goal of improving equity in the United States and around the world.

Through her work at the foundation over more than two decades, Melinda has seen firsthand that empowering women and girls can bring about transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of families, communities, and societies. Her work has led her to increasingly focus on gender equity as a path to meaningful change.

Our role is to take risks that, if they pay off, could give millions of people the chance to make the most of their lives.
Melinda French Gates
Co-chair and Trustee

Melinda is also the founder of Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company working to drive social progress for women and families in the United States, and she is the author of the bestselling book The Moment of Lift, which introduces readers to the inspiring women she has met during her work and travels around the world and shares her own journey to becoming an advocate for women and girls.

The second of four children, Melinda grew up in Dallas, Texas. She earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and economics and an MBA, both from Duke University. She spent the first decade of her career developing multimedia products at Microsoft before leaving the company to focus on her family and philanthropic work.

She has three children, Jenn, Rory, and Phoebe, and lives in Seattle, Washington.

See articles by Melinda French Gates

With the economic recovery failing women, now is the time to act on gender equality

The COVID-19 pandemic has largely affected women more than men. To build a strong economic recovery, data shows we must advance progress toward gender equality.
By Melinda French Gates Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Gif Data Stats

Sexist and incomplete data hold back the world’s COVID-19 response

More gender disaggregated data is needed to fully understand COVID-19's impacts. Melinda Gates shares four actions governments must take to overcome this gap.
By Melinda French Gates Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Woman is greeted by her grandchildren as she arrives at her house in Cape Town, South Africa.

Put women at the heart of the economic recovery

From education to entrepreneurship, global recovery efforts need to pay particular attention to the needs of women and girls. Melinda Gates and David Malpass, President of the World Bank, urge to put women at the center of the recovery.
By Melinda French Gates and David Malpass

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