Melinda Gates spoke with CNN’s Poppy Harlow this week, covering topics from women in tech to maternity leave and Ivanka Trump. While Trump is often disrespected in feminist circles for her association with her father’s Administration, Gates had great respect for Trump’s efforts to help women and families. 

“I think she’s doing her best. She certainly cares about families and she cares about women so I think she is trying to carry the water on this,” said Gates. “She’s very bright and very committed and she got that research and talked to a lot of people about this.” 

It’s refreshing to see positive comments about the White House’s leading lady on women’s issues from someone like Gates, who has great influence in bipartisan circles across the nation and the world. 

As Carrie Lukas wrote recently of Trump’s paid leave ideas:

“Issues such as child care and paid leave aren’t going away. Working women and families with young children want to know that their representatives understand the challenges they face and are eager to help. By joining Ivanka in this important conversation, conservatives can head off Democrats’ inevitable “GOP war on women” campaign smear by showing that they actually do care deeply about women and families. Even better, they can prove that the progressive approach is inferior to the conservative one, which preserves true flexibility and economic opportunity while creating a better system for all Americans. “

Gates also discussed the need to get more girls involved in the tech industry, noting that the number of women majoring in computer science fields in college has gone down significantly in recent years. 

Both Gates and Harlow may be interested to find out that the Trump Administration just directed $200 million toward tech education for women and minorities.  Whether or not all conservatives believe this is the way to go, it shows how an Administration you don’t always agree with can sometimes rally around your issues anyway. Gates admitted she and her husband, Bill Gates, have been in multiple meetings at the White House and she seems optimistic about the future of both women and the industry in which she works. 

It’s wonderful to hear about someone with such influence working across the aisle and taking pro-active steps with an Administration they may not favor, but believe can still make a difference.