Divorce is a sad and stressful time for most people who go through it. The Gateses are hyper-wealthy, but that doesn’t make them less human — I hope they are able to walk the difficult path forward as amicably and gently as possible. And I hope that one of the greatest outcomes of their partnership — their foundation — not only endures, but continues to move forward with Melinda’s influence.
Without the most basic right to one’s body — to determine how many children to have, and when — there is no way for women as a group to be on equal footing to men, let alone thrive.
And yet family planning has long been pushed to the margins of global health and development, tied up as it is in two of the more controversial topics out there: Sex and female independence.
There is much more the Gateses could do. And, again, it’s a shame that billionaire philanthropists are the people helping to decide whether children the world over have access to vaccines and education, and whether women can plan their families and give birth safely. But as long as we have billionaires, I’ll take generous ones doing their best to save lives over those who spend their money on vanity space projects any day.
And as the Gateses transition into the next phase of their lives, we should respect their wish for personal privacy. The future of their highly influential foundation, though, is more public than personal. It would be a shame to see it fractured.