"It’s absolutely a partnership of equals," Melinda Gates tells CBS Sunday Morning of her marriage to Bill Gates, arguably one of the more powerful unions on the planet. "It’s important to both of us that the world understands that we are running this place together. This is our joint values being played out in the world." The foundation that bears the couple's names has done an "incredible job," Gates says, via People, in reducing mortality among young children by making available vaccines and anti-malarial mosquito bed nets. The world's largest charity has given away nearly $40 billion since it launched in 2000. And while Gates notes that there are still 1 million babies who die in their first 24 hours, "We are seeing progress. And I think that those points of progress are points of light that employees can point to and say, 'I was part of that. We did change the world. We are changing the world.'"
In the interview, Gates recounts how she was a 23-year-old Microsoft recruit fresh out of Duke when the CEO asked her out in the parking lot—she was flummoxed when he proposed a first date two weeks away. "How could you possibly know what you're doing? My schedule doesn't go out that far," she recalls thinking. Marrying the boss "wasn't in my life plan," she says. But they tied the knot in 1994, and when they got pregnant the following year, she surprised her husband by opting to stay home and raise the kids. She says she told her husband, "You know, if we want (the kids) to have the values we have, somebody has to be home." (The Gates Foundation has invested heavily in zapping polio.)