Melinda French Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she puts into practice the idea that every life has equal value.

Why you should listen

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. As co-chair, Melinda French Gates helps shape and approve strategies, review results, advocate for foundation issues and set the overall direction. In developing countries, the foundation focuses on improving people's health with vaccines and other life-saving tools and giving them a chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to dramatically improve education so that all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

In recent years, Melinda French Gates has become a vocal advocate for access to contraception, advancing the idea that empowering women to decide whether and when to have children can have transformational effects on societies. In 2012, Gates spearheaded the London Summit on Family Planning, with the goal of delivering contraceptives to 120 million women in developing countries by 2020. When asked why she got involved in this issue, Gates said, "We knew that 210 million women were saying they wanted access to the contraceptives we have here in the United States and we weren't providing them because of political controversy in our country. To me, that was just a crime. I kept looking around trying to find the person to get this back on the global stage. I realized I just had to do it."

 

Melinda Gates on the TED Blog
See all
Live from TED2014

In case you missed it: Day 2 at TED2014

March 19, 2014

So what went down at TED on day two? Well, a lot, as it happens. As curator Chris Anderson commented rather tiredly later, “that was the most intense day of TED I can remember, ever.” Here, a lightning round-up of some of the day’s key moments. Edward Snowden trundles onto stage The first big surprise […]

Continue reading
Live from TED2014

Wish: The speakers in session 4 of TED2014

March 19, 2014

What powers the journey to a better future? Some really big wishes, and even bigger ideas. Our speakers in this session all have the tenacity, hope and relentless optimism necessary to believe that we can make progress in solving some of the most intractable problems of our time. Here are the speakers who appeared in […]

Continue reading

Quotes from Melinda Gates

That's universal — we all want to bring every good thing to our children. But what's not universal is our ability to provide every good thing.
Melinda Gates
TEDxChange • 936K views Apr 2012
Persuasive, Informative
Birth control has almost completely and totally disappeared from the global health agenda, and the victims of this paralysis are the people of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Melinda Gates
TEDxChange • 936K views Apr 2012
Persuasive, Informative
If we're going to make progress on this issue [of contraception], we have to be really clear about what our agenda is. We're not talking about abortion. We're not talking about population control. What I'm talking about is giving women the power to save their lives, to save their children's lives and to give their families the best possible future.
Melinda Gates
TEDxChange • 936K views Apr 2012
Persuasive, Informative