By Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Dec. 30, 2015 | The New York Times
There’s a little plaque by my computer at home that says, “Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.” During 2012, I looked at it a lot — especially in the weeks leading up to one of the biggest speeches of my life.
To give you some background, I’m a practicing Catholic who grew up in Dallas and went to Catholic high school. I cherish quiet time and I’ve never loved being in the spotlight. In other words, I’m a pretty unlikely candidate to become an outspoken advocate for contraceptives.
Yet there I was on my way to Berlin to make the case to the world that we had to put family planning back on the global agenda.
Through my work with our foundation, I have met so many women in the world’s most impoverished places who tell me they lack access to contraceptives. Like parents everywhere, they want to make all of their children’s dreams come true. But without the ability to plan and space their births, they have more children than they can afford to feed or send to school — they feel helpless as their children become trapped in poverty, too. Once I heard their stories, I was determined to help them build a better future.