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

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
30 mins ago - Economy & Business

A white-collar crime crackdown

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

America has waited a decade for an aggressive government crackdown on white-collar crime. Now, just before the election, and in the middle of a bull market, it has arrived.

Why it matters: When times are good, investors become more trusting and more greedy. That makes them more likely to put their money into fraudulent or criminal enterprises.

  • After a decade-long bull market, there is no shortage of those frauds to prosecute.
57 mins ago - Technology

Lawyers crystal-ball the Google antitrust case

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Justice Department's antitrust suit against Google is a strong, straightforward monopoly case, competition lawyers and experts tell Axios. But that doesn't mean it'll be an easy journey for the government.

The big picture: Winning any antitrust case is a heavy lift. It's even more of a challenge to pull off victory in a future-looking case that seeks to make room for potential new competition to flourish.

The pandemic is getting worse again

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Due to a database error, Missouri had a 3 day gap in reporting from Oct. 11-13; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Every available piece of data proves it: The coronavirus pandemic is getting worse again, all across America.

The big picture: As the death toll ticks past 212,000, at a moment when containing the virus ought to be easier and more urgent than ever, we are instead giving it a bigger foothold to grow from.