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Photo: Michele Crowe/CBS via Getty Images

Melinda Gates told me in an interview earlier this year that she initially eschewed a focus on women's issues, seeing it as one of the "soft" areas typically reserved for female philanthropists.

Driving the news: Gates said she realized that women's issues were actually the key to the other areas that she is passionate about: global health, education and economic equality.

"If you invest in a woman we totally know from great research she invests in everybody else. ... She not only lifts her kids and her family but she lifts up her community, which lifts up society, which lifts up her country."
— Melinda Gates

Similarly, contraception turns out to be not just a women's issue, but the key to a country's overall economic empowerment. No country in the last 50 years has made the transition from low income to middle income without allowing access to birth control, Gates said.

"Contraceptives are the greatest anti-poverty tool we have in the world. More than 90% of U.S. women use them. We believe in them and we should make sure that all women have access," Gates said during an interview during the San Francisco leg the tour for her book: The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World.

Why now? While both she and Bill Gates have generally stayed out of partisan U.S. politics, Melinda Gates chose to speak out after the Trump administration proposed to gut funding for contraception globally.

"When I saw a budget come out from the administration that proposed extraordinarily few resources for contraceptives around the world, I believe so fundamentally in that issue, I knew I had to speak out and I did and I have ever since then."
— Melinda Gates

Go deeper

36 mins ago - Technology

Facebook Oversight Board overturns 4 of its 5 first cases

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook's independent Oversight Board published its first set of decisions Thursday, overturning 4 of the 5 cases it chose to review out of 20,000 cases submitted.

Why it matters: The decision to go against Facebook's conclusions in 4 out of 5 instances gives legitimacy to the Board, which is funded via a $130 million grant from Facebook.

New York AG: State severely undercounted COVID nursing home deaths

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Data from New York's public health department undercounted COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%, according to a report released Thursday by state Attorney General Letitia James.

The big picture: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration did not include nursing home patients who died after being transferred to the hospital in its tally of over 8,500 nursing home deaths, according to the report. Data provided to the attorney general's office from 62 nursing homes "shows a significantly higher number of resident COVID-19 deaths can be identified than is reflected" in the official count.

Trading platforms curb trading on high-flying Reddit stocks

Major trading platforms including Robinhood, TDAmeritrade and Interactive Brokers are restricting — or cutting off entirely — trading on high-flying stocks like GameStop and AMC Entertainment.

Why it matters: It limits access to the traders that have contributed to the wild Reddit-driven activity of the past few days — a phenomenon that has gripped Wall Street and the country.