Melinda Gates on Returning to Work After Raising Her Babies at Home by Jessica Acree
At the age of 13, Melinda Gates knew she wanted two things out of life: to be a good, dedicated mother like her own and to have an exciting career outside of the home like her dad. She achieved both by making each of them a priority during different phases in her journey and by trusting her instincts along the way.
"I dreamed of a career that would allow me to be a part of something impactful," explains Gates in a candid essay written for Marie Claire.
According to the Department of Labor, almost 47 percent of the current U.S. workforce is made up of women. That's a huge difference when you think of how far women have come in earning their place among men just in the last few decades. Nonetheless, she persisted.
Gates, whose husband, Bill Gates, founded the Microsoft Corporation, also began in the tech field in 1987 as a Microsoft project manager for the growing computer and software giant. "The work was intense, creative, meaningful – and pretty soon, it became the center of my life."
Everything changed in 1996 when Bill and Melinda had their first child. Gates shocked everyone by leaving her dream job in the office to become a stay-at-home mom. For her it was a no-brainer. "Not every woman has the option to say home with her kids, and I felt very lucky that I did."
That wasn't the end of her story though. In 2012, after raising their three children, she jumped back into the mix, diving more deeply into their global philanthropist mission through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
"Advocating for women and girls is work I believe is important, work that I’m proud for my children to see me doing ... If I wanted my daughters and son to truly believe that women can do anything, I needed to model that for them."
She believes that despite the struggle to find balance along the way, it only made them stronger as a family and in their commitment to serve. Her original childhood dream to have an impact, now coming full circle with endless possibility and hope for a brighter tomorrow far beyond the walls of their home.
"...my hope for my daughters – and all of our daughters – is that they will have the freedom to make the decisions that work for them, the chance to live the lives they dream of, and that they will always live in a world that values the stories of women and their experiences."
Read the full essay written by Melinda Gates at Marie Claire.
Photos: Marie Claire