Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates remain committed to working together to make a difference.
The billionaire philanthropists, who finalized their divorce in August 2021 after 27 years of marriage, have repeatedly spoken about their continued working relationship through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which they started in 2000. And this week, the pair showed a united front while attending the foundation’s 2022 Goalkeepers event.
The annual gathering, which celebrates leaders who are working to advance sustainable global goals, was held in person in New York City on Tuesday and Wednesday after a two-year hiatus.
Just one day before the start of the annual event, Melinda shared that she remained “completely committed” to working alongside her ex-husband.
“We met for the first time with our board of trustees last week in person,” Melinda, 58, said during an interview with Bloomberg. “What I think they would all tell you is that Bill and Melinda remain completely committed to this institution and to working effectively together. And that’s what we’re doing today.”
The Microsoft co-founder, 66, and the global advocate for women and girls both attended the Goalkeepers 2022 Global Goals Awards, posing for photos with a number of world leaders — including the four winners: Radhika Batra, co-founder of the nonprofit organization Every Infant Matters; Zahra Joya, a journalist whose self-funded news agency covers issues affecting women in Afghanistan; Vanessa Nakate, a climate justice activist; and Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission.
In separate speeches, Bill and Melinda addressed specific areas of inequality that need to be faced.
Speaking about food insecurity, Bill shared that by 2030 it is projected that there will be “32 million more hungry people.”
“Most of that is going to be women and children,” he remarked. “When you have food shortages, they’re the ones that suffer most.”
In her speech, Melinda spoke about some of the pathways that need to be created for women to achieve an equal share of economic power.
“Why haven’t we spent more time making sure that women are actually gaining power in their families and in their neighborhoods?” she said.
“Real power isn’t just having a job, it’s also affordable, quality caregiving that ensures women aren’t set up to fail in their jobs,” she added. “And it does mean men taking their fair share of the responsibilities at home.”
Bill and Melinda’s 20-year-old daughter Phoebe was also on hand for the event.
In a behind-the-scenes video she shared on her Instagram Story Wednesday, the Stanford University student gave her followers a behind-the-scenes look at the festivities, sharing a glimpse of her mom getting ready and another clip of her father onstage.
“Come with me to Goalkeepers today,” she said at the top of the short clip.
Additionally, this week, the Gates Foundation announced $1.27 billion in commitments to help advance global process.
“This week has underscored the urgency of the challenges we face, and the promise of sustainable solutions that save and improve lives,” Mark Suzman, Gates Foundation CEO, said in a statement announcing the donation. “Our foundation is significantly stepping up our commitment to help confront crises now and ensure long-term impact across critical determinants of health and development.”
In her interview with Bloomberg, Melinda went on to share that she has an equal focus on her work with their foundation as well as Pivotal Ventures, a company she founded that works on projects to empower women.
“The foundation, I’m deeply and continue to be committed to. That is my global platform,” she explained. “Then, with Pivotal Ventures, I’m really working on social inequities here in the United States.”