Closing The Gap

Melinda Gates: #MeToo progress has been 'spotty,' but there are reasons to be optimistic

Melinda Gates: How to get more women in tech and why college is too late to...

Corporate America may be facing a reckoning in the wake of allegations against powerful men, but progress so far has been "spotty" according to Melinda Gates.

The co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shared her reflections in an interview with Squawk Box anchor Becky Quick on Tuesday.  "I think there will continue to be a pushback where people will try to roll back [the movement's] progress," says Gates.

Gates emphasized that the #MeToo movement has gained traction in part thanks to millennials, and that with a "cacophony of voices" speaking out about equality, there's reason to be optimistic about the future. "This younger generation is about bringing all women forward," she says. "There's a lot of guilt for women over 60. They say, 'I made it, I assimilated, but I'm one of one.'"

"I think everybody sees, we need to get better across society government, corporations, founding businesses," she says. 

We're making progress with women in the workplace, but it's 'spotty', says Melinda Gates

One way to help women advance, according to Gates? Broaden access to paid family medical leave. Currently, just 15 percent of U.S. workers currently have access paid family leave, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families. And for married women to benefit, it's just as important for men to have access to family leave.

"When a man takes a leave, he's more involved in raising the children it's better for him and it's better for the kids," says Gates.

Traditional family roles, she says, are no longer relevant in today's society,. Married women in the U.S. perform five years of unpaid labor that their husbands do not — everything from making school lunches to driving kids to school, she says.

"We need to look at that and recognize women are working today. They are in the workforce, but we have to redistribute the workload at home, and paid family medical leave for men and women helps with that."

Video by Mary Stevens.

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