MELINDA Gates has ditched her wedding ring for her first public appearance since her divorce.
Melinda appeared at the Generation Equality Forum convened by UN Women in Paris in her capacity as co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
She was dressed from head-to-toe in white and sent a clear message to her estranged husband, with whom she has three children.
Private donors, government officials and civil society leaders are meeting to make financial and political commitments for gender equality worldwide.
Melinda used her appearance to make a plea to “lift up women” so they can have “power and influence” to “lift up everybody else”.
“Women should not only have a seat at the table, they should be in every single room where policy and decisions are being made,” she said.
In contrast, when her 65-year-old husband made his first public appearance after the divorce, he was still wearing his wedding ring.
Soon after they parted ways, it was reported Gates made unwanted advances on women he worked with at Microsoft and at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
He also confirmed the bombshell claims that he had an affair with a Microsoft employee.
The woman reportedly wrote a letter to the company’s board about their relationship in 2019 and demanded Melinda read it.
An outside law firm was brought in to investigate but he stepped down from the board before the probe was complete.
Gates denied that his departure had anything to do with the affair.
There have also been questions about his friendship with paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who hanged himself in prison in 2019 while waiting trail in child sex-trafficking charges.
Melinda was a high-powered Microsoft executive before meeting and marrying Bill and going on to have three kids with him, Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe.
She had been a general manager at the computer company, won his heart by beating him at a maths game and Cluedo during a puzzle contest.
She formalised the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 and the couple has forked out £32 billion addressing major global issues, like gender equality and poverty.
Gates said they decided to “end our marriage” after a “great deal of thought and a lot of work” – two years after his wife admitted that marital life was “really hard.”