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Melinda Gates: Women Want To Be Able To Choose The Time And Space The Births Of Their Children

CNBC Excerpts: Melinda Gates Speaks with CNBC’s Becky Quick Today

Melinda Gates
Image source: CNBC Video Screenshot

WHEN: Today, Wednesday, April 24, 2019

WHERE: CNBC’s “Squawk Box

The following is the unofficial transcript of excerpts from a CNBC interview with Melinda Gates and CNBC’s Becky Quick which aired on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” (M-F 6AM – 9AM) today, Wednesday, April 24th. The following are links to video from the interview on CNBC.com:

Melinda Gates on the importance of vaccines and access to contraceptives

Melinda Gates on technology, capitalism and her ‘Moment of Lift’

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

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Melinda Gates on Breaking her Silence:

The hardest pieces for me to write were the most private parts of the book. Moments in our marriage where I was asking Bill for more equality or moments where I do talk about abuse that I went through. That was the hardest piece to write. But I felt like in being vulnerable, if I would share those stories, people would understand, you know, abuse-- it can happen to absolutely anyone. And I travel the globe. And when I stay long enough in places, it comes out. Whether I'm in Silicon Valley, whether I'm in Northern India, whether I'm in Senegal or Malawi, women talk to you about abuse. And one of the reasons it's important to write about that is because it silences women. It silenced my voice. It took away my self-confidence for years.

Melinda Gates on Roles in Marriage:

I don't think either of us, when we entered the marriage, really questioned, either one of us, what our roles would be. And clearly, he's running Microsoft. I mean, he has a huge job. But I think even what I expected of myself, we didn't stop and talk about it. So it wasn't until well into the marriage that I realized how much I was doing at home. And that I had to name for him, "Hey, I want to work too. I enjoy working. And if I'm going to be able to do that, you need to take on more work--"

BECKY QUICK: Wha—

MELINDA GATES: "--at home."

BECKY QUICK: What was his first reaction to that?

MELINDA GATES: Well-- I'm not always elegant in how I bring these things up. He might tell you that sometimes, I have my hands on my hips.

Melinda Gates on Family Planning:

I think we take for granted in the United States. I mean, what allowed women to go into the workforce in droves? It was the advent of the pill. And when women can choose to time and space the births of their babies, we know from great research, one of the l-- biggest longitudinal studies in global health, that families are healthier, children are better educated and families are wealthier, if the woman can time and space the births of her children.

Melinda Gates on Contraceptives:

And I am incredibly frustrated and disappointed to see that systematically-- access to contraceptives being rolled back in this country. And the people that it has the most effect for are single moms living in not great circumstances, in low income neighborhoods. And I’ve, again, I've met with those moms in and around Georgia or in and around Tennessee. And they will tell you, again, like every woman, they want to be able to time and space the births of their children. And if we don't allow access to these tools at low cost, they can't afford them. And so they're making these tradeoffs in their families. And we are literally locking women into the cycle of poverty if we don't allow them access to contraceptives.

Melinda Gates on Capitalism:

Because I would far rather live in a capitalistic society than a socialist society. Absolutely. And I think when we stop and think of what we have from a capitalistic society, we have to remember what we actually have. Now, is it a perfect system? Absolutely not. We need government to do its job, to regulate things, to have an appropriate tax system. As our co-trustee Warren Buffett says, capitalism does have gaps in it. And so we need to look at those gaps in society and figure out what do we do to fill them so that everybody has the chance to live a healthy and productive life.

Melinda Gates on an Equal Seat:

Who imagined, when I was working at Microsoft, I didn't imagine-- we didn't imagine a phone in our pockets with that computing power. And yet, what it allows us to do. And so, to me, when I think about women, I want to make sure that they have an equal seat at the table, at creating products, making decisions. And when I see only 2% of venture capital funding goes to women, less than 1% goes to people of color, now, I know lots of women and people of color that have great business ideas. And yet, there's something, there's a systematic bias in venture capitalism that keeps their great ideas from being funded and coming forward. And that shouldn't be. So I'm not only speaking about it, I'm actually putting money down, investments down, that I expect a good return on, to make sure those ideas come forward and get funded.