Portrait of Melinda Gates

Global philanthropist Melinda Gates spoke with media executive and TEDWomen co-founder Pat Mitchell during the 2020 Texas Conference for Women. Here are the highlights of the conversation, lightly edited for brevity and clarity:


Pat Mitchell: The pandemic has been adversely and disproportionately impacting women; and some are worried that, because of this, we are experiencing a backward slide on gender equality. What is your response to this? 
Melinda Gates:
“Absolutely, the pandemic has exposed the gaps in society, the faultlines. But it is also creating opportunities for us. In the past, people thought: ‘Oh, this gender equality is a nice-to-do thing, we’ll get to it when we have time.’ No. What the pandemic has exposed is that we have to work on gender. If we don’t work on gender, this economic recovery is going to take far longer.

“The key infrastructure in this society that needs to be built back properly is women’s unpaid labor, this caregiving work that women so often do. If we can build that system back in a way that supports families and supports jobs and capitalism, then we are going to be better off as a society.” (more…)