When we think of the last name Gates, we generally connect it with Bill and his multi-billion dollar technology corporation: Microsoft. Melinda Gates, however, is more than just the wife of one of the wealthiest men in the world. She helps to run the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and thus supports women across the globe. Consider some of the ways that Melinda Gates is inspiring change for women globally, thus deserving our attention as we continue to reflect on International Women’s Day throughout the month of March.
Bill Gates wasn’t always as philanthropic as he is today. It wasn’t until Melinda married him in 1994 that charity efforts increased with the formation of the William H. Gates Foundation. She was content to be in the background without her name on the charity organization. The name changed in 1999 to represent the active role that she played. A $30 billion donation from Warren Buffet in 2006 made it possible for Melinda to completely restructure the foundation into three sections. While one was focused in the US, the other two focused on global development and worldwide health. Some of the biggest contributions of the foundation have been in developing more efficient ways to test and treat disease in poorer countries, including some of the biggest health concerns like HIV, TB, and malaria.
In 2012, Melinda Gates made a pledge that will affect women globally. The organization is using more than half a billion dollars to provide women in developing lands with access to contraceptives. They are fighting to implement family planning services across Africa where many women die simply because they have no medical facilities to assist them with pregnancy. The foundation has also provided millions in charity to help give financial support to Latin American women who are at the poorest levels of society.
Follow Melinda Gates on Twitter to keep up with the latest in advancements for women on the world scene. For example, on March 14th she provided a link to an article about gender equality for women in Tanzania. The foundation also has its own Twitter account which likewise follows global change, such as the March 16th post about efforts to increase awareness in Asia about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Melinda is living proof that a woman doesn’t have to come from hardship to want to help change lives for others. She is willing to use the large sum of resources at her disposal to improve the quality of life for women globally. That’s why we are taking this opportunity to salute her efforts in behalf of women around the world.