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Melinda Gates stresses importance of foreign aid during budget battle

As the budget battle ensues on Capitol Hill, Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, stresses the importance of U.S. funding to foreign aid.

In an interview with CBS News on Wednesday, Gates said, "What people need to understand is the funding we're talking about for this foreign aid is less than one percent of the U.S. budget and yet we are seeing dramatic changes around the world because of that funding."

Gates is the keynote speaker at the CARE Women Conference, marking the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day.

She announced a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development Thursday to fund research for prevention and treatment for pregnant women and newborns in rural and underdeveloped regions.

"Bill and I keep putting our own money into things like this alliance for vaccines and immunizations, as does the U.S. government, because we literally know we are saving children's lives because of investments, generosity of U.S people," Gates said.

"Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development" partners USAID with Norway, Canada, the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide $14 million of funding with a goal of $50 million over five years.

"So many of the women we are representing around the world don't have voice in the democratic process," Gates said. "If you think about the progress women have made in the last 100 years and the difference a woman makes in lifting up not only her family but her community and a society, I think this is the perfect way to celebrate what women mean in the world."

Christine Delargy is an associate producer for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. You can also follow her on Twitter here: http://www.twitter.com/cbswashunplug.