In a recent episode of Conan O’Brien‘s hit talk show, the esteemed guest Melinda French Gates discussed the importance of women’s education. The conversation took a lively turn as they shared their thoughts and experiences about reaching a significant milestone in life.

As they reminisced about turning 60, both O’Brien and Gates reflected on the changes and shifts in perspective that come with entering this stage of life. Despite their initial reservations, Gates expressed that this phase has actually been the happiest of her life. However, with her own children soon leaving the nest, she admitted feeling a mixture of excitement and trepidation about the empty nest phase.

In a light-hearted moment, Gates playfully requested a “Gates grant” from Conan to build a second pool in her backyard as a coping mechanism for being an empty nester. The audience couldn’t help but chuckle at her witty plea.

Moving on to a more serious note, O’Brien asked Gates about how her priorities have shifted since her divorce from Bill Gates, specifically in relation to their work together at the Gates Foundation. Gates explained that while the foundation initially focused on issues in developing countries, her personal experiences and observations led her to recognize the crucial role women play in society, particularly in terms of decision-making and power dynamics within families. This realization prompted her to shift the foundation’s focus to empowering women.

To further amplify her efforts, Gates established her own separate venture called pivotal Ventures, which concentrates on helping women and people of color in the United States step into positions of power. Gates expressed concern about the underrepresentation of women, especially in politics, and its systematic impact on policy-making. She strongly believes that having more women in positions of power would lead to a more equitable society, with policies that better address the needs of its citizens.

Gates also delved into the state of public education in the United States, expressing her dismay at how it seems to have become a low priority. As one of the wealthiest nations on Earth, she finds it incredulous that the education of children has been diminished to such an extent. Coming from a fortunate background where she attended excellent public schools, Gates acknowledged the importance of quality education as an equalizer in society.

The conversation then transitioned to the international stage, with O’Brien inquiring about Gates’ work in Africa alongside luminaries such as Michelle Obama and Amal Clooney. Gates explained that they focused on combating child marriage, examining the legal systems and education systems that perpetuate this harmful practice. Gates emphasized the importance of ensuring that girls have the opportunity to be educated, as this plays a crucial role in delaying marriage and providing them with more autonomy in their lives.

The interview closed with a discussion on the power of role models in society. Gates highlighted the importance of having a diverse range of female role models across various industries so that young girls can have someone to look up to and aspire to be. She stressed the need for more representation and opportunities for women in order to bring about positive change in society.

Throughout the interview, Conan O’Brien skillfully interwove humor and thought-provoking discussions, creating an engaging and lively atmosphere. Melinda French Gates‘s insights shed light on the value of women’s education and the pressing need for gender equality in various spheres of life. As the conversation came to an end, viewers were left inspired and encouraged to contemplate the steps needed to create a more inclusive and equal world.