The Bill-Melinda Gates romance started with a rejection

Reflections on gender equality at home and in America's workplace

Melinda Gates has always had an independent streak. When she was still Melinda French and a young employee working at Microsoft in 1987, Bill Gates flirted with her in the carpark and asked if she would go out with him in two weeks.

She turned him down. "That's not spontaneous enough for me," she told him. "Ask me out closer to the date."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2019, with the headline 'The Bill-Melinda Gates romance started with a rejection'. Subscribe