The Bill-Melinda Gates romance started with a rejection

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

New: Gift this subscriber-only story to your friends and family

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."

Already a subscriber? 

Dive deeper at $0.99/month

Want more exclusives, sharp insights into what's happening at home and abroad? Subscribe to stay informed.

Unlock these benefits

  • All subscriber-only content on ST app and straitstimes.com

  • Easy access any time via ST app on 1 mobile device

  • 2-week e-paper archive so you never miss out on any topic that matters to you

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

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