World's Most Charitable Woman: Meet Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates', now the world's most charitable woman, contributions towards philanthropic causes have been valued at more than $39 billion, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation becoming the second-largest philanthropic organization.

Uma Bakshi
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Melinda with her former husband, Bill Gates. File Image.

Photographed next to her now ex-husband, Bill Gates,  Melinda Gates is often dubbed the 'world's most charitable woman', thanks to her lifelong commitment to donating money to philanthropic causes such as reducing poverty, improving education and making it more accessible, improving healthcare, and encouraging gender equality across the world.

Established by Bill and Melinda in 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the second-largest philanthropic organization in the world, with over $70 billion in assets. Since 1994, before and after her split with Bill Gates, Melinda Gates has donated $39 billion dollars through the foundation she set up to combat illnesses, alleviate poverty, enhance education, and advance gender equality on a global scale.

Who Is Melinda Gates?

Born in 1964, Melinda French Gates grew up in Dallas, Texas, as the second of four children. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree and an MBA from Duke University, after which she began working at Microsoft, where she met Bill Gates- the co-founder. The couple later got divorced in 2021. As a part of her divorce settlement, she received at least $2.4 billion in stock  in various companies. During her marriage to Bill, the couple decided to set up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a philanthropic organization aimed at making healthcare and education more accessible in developing countries. Since the foundation’s creation in 2000, it has spent $53.8 billion in fighting disease, reducing poverty, improving education and promoting gender equality globally.

Work Towards Gender Equality

Besides being a philanthropist and a business woman, Melinda Gates's profile also includes her role as global advocate for women and girls. In her position as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, she influences and approves the organization’s strategies and general aim, reviews results, and works together with donors and partners to further the foundation’s objective of improving equity domestically, within the United States, and internationally, around the world. 

Through her time as co-founder, Gates has had a first-hand perspective at how the empowerment of women and girls could completely transform families, communities, and societies for the better. In her bestselling book The Moment of Lift, she introduces the readers to the inspiring and motivational women she met throughout her career and travels around the world, whilst sharing her own experiences and journey to becoming an advocate for girls and women. 

Over the last few years, Gates has increasingly prioritized the accessibility of contraception to underprivileged women worldwide, with over $1 billion being donated to this cause.  Melinda Gates has consistently been ranked as one of the world’s most influential and wealthy women, ranking as #6 in Forbes’ 2022 edition of ‘The World’s Most Powerful Women’, and #390 in Forbes Magazine’s 2023 edition of ‘World’s Billionaire’s List’.

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