Melinda Gates at the World Economic Forum in 2011
Melinda Ann French
August 15, 1964
|Residence||Medina, Washington, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Duke University (BA), (MBA)|
|Occupation||Co-Chair and Founder, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation|
Bill Gates (m. 1994)
Melinda Ann Gates DBE (née French; August 15, 1964) is an American philanthropist and a former general manager at Microsoft. In 2000, she co-founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with her husband Bill Gates, the world's largest private charitable organization. Gates has consistently been ranked as one of the world's most powerful women by Forbes.
Melinda Ann French was born on August 15, 1964 in Dallas, Texas. She is the second of four children born to Raymond Joseph French Jr., an aerospace engineer, and Elaine Agnes Amerland, a homemaker. Melinda has an older sister and two younger brothers.
Melinda, a Catholic, attended St. Monica Catholic School, where she was the top student in her class. At age 14, Melinda was introduced to the Apple II by her father, which later inspired her interest in computer games and the BASIC programming language.
Melinda graduated as valedictorian from Ursuline Academy of Dallas in 1982. She earned a bachelor's degree in computer science and economics from Duke University in 1986 and an MBA from Duke's Fuqua School of Business in 1987. At Duke, Melinda was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, Beta Rho Chapter.
Gates' first job was tutoring math and computer programming to children. After graduation, Melinda joined Microsoft as a marketing manager, where she was responsible for leading the development of various multimedia products. These included Cinemania, Encarta, Publisher, Microsoft Bob, Money and Word. In addition, she worked on Expedia, which is now one of today's biggest travel booking websites. Despite the commercial failure of Microsoft Bob, Gates later recalled that a software demo was "one of the hardest things I've ever done". In the early 1990s, Gates was appointed as General Manager of Information Products, a position which she held until 1996. She left Microsoft to focus on starting and raising her family.
Gates served as a member of Duke University's Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2003. She attends the annual Bilderberg Group conference and has held a seat on the Board of Directors of The Washington Post company since 2004. She was also on the Board of Directors at Drugstore.com, but left in August 2006 to focus on philanthropy projects. Since 2000, Gates has been active in the public eye, stating "As I thought about strong women of history, I realized that they stepped out in some way". This has helped her work become recognized, while shaping and delivering goals of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As of 2014, Bill and Melinda have donated US$28 billion to the Foundation.
The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World
In 2019 Melinda Gates debuted as an author with the book The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World. Former President Barack Obama starred in a comedy sketch in order to promote the book. The book highlights the failure to acknowledge women's unpaid work, drawing on feminist economist Marilyn Waring's book If Women Counted.
Melinda began dating CEO Bill Gates in 1987, after meeting him at a trade fair in New York. In 1994, she married Gates in a private ceremony held in Lanai, Hawaii. They have three children. The family resides in Xanadu 2.0, an earth-sheltered mansion in the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington in Medina, Washington.
Gates and her husband were suggested as possible vice-presidential picks in the 2016 United States presidential election, according to a reportedly hacked email published by WikiLeaks from Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta.
Awards and recognition
In December 2005, Melinda and Bill Gates were named by Time as Persons of the Year alongside Bono. Melinda and Bill Gates received the Spanish Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation on May 4, 2006, in recognition of their world impact through charitable giving.
In November 2006, Melinda was awarded the Insignia of the Order of the Aztec Eagle, together with Bill, who was awarded the Placard of the same order, both for their philanthropic work around the world in the areas of health and education, particularly in Mexico, and specifically in the program "Un país de lectores".
In May 2006, in honor of her work to improve the lives of children locally and around the world, Seattle Children's Hospital dedicated the Melinda French Gates Ambulatory Care building at Seattle Children's (formerly Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center). She chaired a campaign for the hospital to fundraise $300 million to expand facilities, fund under-compensated and uncompensated care, and grow the hospital's research program to find cures and treatments.
In 2007, Gates received an honorary doctorate in medicine from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2009, she and her husband received honorary degrees from the University of Cambridge. Their benefaction of $210 million in 2000 set up the Gates Cambridge Trust, which funds postgraduate scholars from outside the UK to study at the University. Lastly, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Duke University in 2013 as a tribute for her philanthropic commitment.
Gates was appointed an honorary Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2013 for services to philanthropy and international development. In recognition of the foundation's philanthropic activities in India, Bill and Melinda jointly received India's third-highest civilian honor, Padma Bhushan, in 2015. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded Gates and her husband with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their philanthropic efforts.
In 2017, President François Hollande awarded Gates and her husband with France's highest national award, the Legion of Honour, in Paris for their charity efforts. That year, she was awarded the Otto Hahn Peace Medal 2016 of the United Nations Association of Germany (DGVN), Berlin-Brandenburg, "for outstanding services to peace and international understanding" in the historic Berlin Town Hall. That year, Gates was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at number 12 in the list of 200 Most Influential Philanthropists and Social Entrepreneurs Worldwide.
Women in technology
Gates' experience of a male-dominated workplace at Microsoft inspired her to encourage more women in the computing field. In September 2016, Gates announced her desire on increasing the diversity in the workplace, especially in the technology industry, stating: "Every company needs technology, and yet we’re graduating fewer women technologists. That is not good for society. We have to change it." Gates also spoke about this topic at the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, an annual series of conferences.
In the 2016 annual letter from the Gates Foundation, Gates said women should "spend more time doing paid work, starting businesses, or otherwise contributing to the economic well-being of societies around the world. The fact that they can't, holds their families and communities back."[non sequitur]
- The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World (2019) ISBN 978-1250313577
- Texas Births, 1926–1995. Familytreelegends.com; retrieved June 29, 2013.
- "Melinda Gates". gatesfoundation.org. Gates Foundation. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
- "Power Women". forbes.com. Forbes. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
- "Office romance: how Bill met Melinda". The Independent. June 27, 2008.
- "Melinda Gates biography". biography.com. A&E Television Networks. March 15, 2018. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
- "Melinda Gates goes public (pg. 2)" Archived May 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, cnn.com, January 7, 2008.
- Melinda Gates (April 2012). Let's put birth control back on the agenda. TEDxChange. Retrieved June 29, 2013.
- "Melinda Gates: 'I'm a Catholic, but women need access to contraceptives'", Guardian.co.uk; retrieved June 29, 2013.
- "Catholic Melinda Gates defies the Vatican over birth control funds", independent.co.uk; retrieved June 29, 2013.
- Goodell, Jeff (March 13, 2014). "Bill Gates: The Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
- Jeanne M. Lesinski (2009). Bill Gates: Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Twenty First Century Books. ISBN 9781580135702. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
Melinda, a devout Catholic, wanted a religious wedding
- Business Week, Issues 3649–3652. McGraw-Hill. 1999. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
Raised a Roman Catholic and educated at a girls' Catholic high school, Melinda was encouraged to pursue her love of science
- "Office romance: how Bill met Melinda". The Independent. 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
- "Ursuline Receives Additional $2 Million Grant; Science, Math, Technology Building Task Force is Formed". Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
- Mary Zeiss Stange; Carol K. Oyster; Jane E. Sloan (January 9, 2013). The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World. SAGE Publications. pp. 386–. ISBN 978-1-4522-7037-1.
- "The incredible life of Melinda Gates — one of the world's richest and most powerful women". November 1, 2017. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
- Staff, Fast Company (2017-01-09). "How Melinda Gates Is Diversifying Tech". Fast Company. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
- Cathleen., Small, (2017). Melinda Gates : Philanthropist and Education Advocate. New York, NY: Cavendish Square Publishing LLC. ISBN 9781502627087. OCLC 1039680502.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- "Office Romance: How Bill met Melinda". The Independent. 2008. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
- "This failure taught me a lesson I'll never forget". www.linkedin.com. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
- Gates Joins Trustees Archived August 2, 2012, at Archive.today, Fuqua.duke.edu; retrieved June 29, 2013.
- "Melinda French Gates Elected a Director of The Washington Post Company". Graham Holdings Company. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
- "Officers and Directors". Drugstore.com. 2005. Archived from the original on February 7, 2006. Retrieved February 14, 2008.
- Bill Gates' philanthropy profile, forbes.com; retrieved April 23, 2016.
- Darrisaw, Michelle (10 May 2019). "Barack Obama Is the Ultimate Funny Guy in a Video Made for Melinda Gates". Oprah Magazine.
- "Melinda Gates draws huge crowd for hometown finale of 'Moment of Lift' tour, with surprise intro". GeekWire. 10 May 2019.
- "Melinda Gates' 'The Moment of Lift'". ABC News.
- "Profile: Bill Gates". BBC News. January 26, 2004.
- ""Read the Surprising List of Hillary Clinton's Potential Running Mates"". Time.
- Jefferson Awards website, jeffersonawards.org; accessed April 23, 2016.
- "2012 Laureates – Prince of Asturias Awards", fpa.es; retrieved June 2, 2013.
- "Talk about us: Melinda Gates". Empowering Entrepreneurs Women | Coachability Foundation (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-03-14.
- Children's Hospital Dedicates Melinda French Gates Ambulatory Care Building Archived June 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, Seattlechildrens.org; retrieved June 29, 2013.
- How Our Name Evolved, Seattlechildrens.org; retrieved June 29, 2013.
- Seattle Children's Hospital Unveils $300 Million Capital Campaign – $200 Million Already Raised Archived June 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, seattlechildrens.org; retrieved June 29, 2013.
- "Medicine hedersdoktorer 1910–2013 (Honorary Doctors of Medicine 1910–2013)" (PDF). Hedersdoktorer vid Karolinska Institutet (Honorary Doctors at the Karolinska Institute) (in Swedish). Stockholm: Karolinska Institute. May 22, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2017.
- "Gates Cambridge Trust". New York University. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "Gates Cambridge Trust announces new Provost". University of Cambridge. University of Cambridge. May 13, 2013.
- "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women 2013". Forbes. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
- "Angela Ahrendts and Melinda Gates made (honorary) Dames of the British Empire". theguardian.com. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
- PTI. "Advani, Bachchan, Dilip Kumar get Padma Vibhushan". The Hindu. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
- "President Obama Names Recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom". whitehouse.gov. The White House. November 16, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
- "Bill Gates and Melinda Gates receive the French Legion of Honor medal Photos". epa.eu. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
- "Otto-Hahn-Friedensmedaille an Melinda Gates". Deutsche Gesellschaft für die Vereinten Nationen, Berlin-Brandenburg (in German). United Nations Association of Germany, LV Berlin-Brandenburg (DGVN). 2017-05-26. Retrieved Sep 30, 2017.
- "Melinda Gates mit Friedensmedaille geehrt". Focus (in German). Helmut Markwort. Deutsche Presse-Agentur. May 25, 2017. Retrieved September 30, 2017.
- "Philanthropists & Social Entrepreneurs Top 200: From Elon Musk to Melinda Gates, These Are the Most Influential Do-Gooders in the World". Richtopia. Archived from the original on March 30, 2017. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
- "Top 200 Global Philanthropists, Social Entrepreneurs". ThisDayLive. Archived from the original on 2017-04-01. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
- "Melinda Gates reveals 'aggressive,' male-dominated life at Microsoft as she calls on all of us to redesign the workplace". www.campaignlive.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
- "Melinda Gates Wants More Women in Tech Jobs". Money. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
- "Melinda Gates on women in tech, her first love, and the origins of Comic Sans". GeekWire. October 4, 2017.
- Gates, Bill and Melinda. "Two Superpowers We Wish We Had". gatesnotes.com.
- Profile at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Melinda Gates on Charlie Rose
- Melinda Gates at TED
- Melinda Gates on IMDb
- "Melinda Gates collected news and commentary". The New York Times.
- Melinda Gates Goes Public, Fortune magazine, January 4, 2008
- Melinda Gates Philanthropic Profile, GiveSmart.org, November, 2012
- Melinda Gates Video produced by Makers: Women Who Make America