Gates went to a Catholic school, and graduated at the top of her class at Ursuline Academy in Dallas.
The nuns there support her current work, saying in a statement last year, “We are proud of Melinda French Gates, her dedication to social justice, her compassion for the underserved,” adding, “we recognise that Melinda’s beliefs on birth control are different from those of the Catholic Church.
When my oldest daughter was three, she said to her doll, 'Lay down, you have Aids! They invited us into their huts, which were smoky and dark.” At the end of the visit, “they really proudly invited us to come back – in a month they were gonna do female genital cutting of this guy’s sister [a tradition that involves the partial or total removal of a girl’s external genitalia, which can cause infection, chronic pain and other serious problems]. For instance, if a woman in Africa suggests her husband wear a condom, he might think she’s suggesting he has Aids – or that she has been unfaithful and she has it.
“Women will tell you over and over again, 'I can’t negotiate a condom in my relationship,’” says Gates.
’” She argues that access to contraception leads to more opportunities for girls.
She went to Duke University, earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science and economics and a master’s degree in business administration.
In 2000 the foundation merged with a Gates initiative focusing on education, becoming the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We took several couples with us, and did an incredibly beautiful safari,” she says.
In 2008 Bill moved out of a daily role at Microsoft to devote himself to the foundation as well. You just try to do a lot of the same things that your own parents did.” Her first trip to the developing world was to Africa with Bill. “And I have to say, I mean, it sounds a bit trite, but we came back so touched by the people.” Driving through boarded-up towns, she says, made her think, “There was economic opportunity – what happened here?
A day ago she was busy launching a global health investment fund. “That’s one of those things you kind of learn about as it’s happening,” she says with a laugh.
The comic book, part of a power-women series published by Bluewater Productions, may have come as a surprise but her life is generally planned to the max.