The Lift to New Heights

Melinda Gates Moment of Lift Book
“How can we summon a moment of lift for human beings--and especially for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity.” 

In Melinda Gates’ book, “The Moment of Lift,” she shares her journeys across the world.  Stories that are eyeopening, heartbreaking and uplifting come to life on the pages. What started as a mission to save children’s lives through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, evolved over the years to encompass helping and empowering women. Through years of study, travel and dialogue, Melinda underscores the fact that “primary causes of poverty and illness are the cultural, financial, and legal restrictions that block what women can do--and think they can do--for themselves and for their children.” 

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Image Source: Business Insider
Melinda discusses several topics in the book that impact the lives of women, including maternal and newborn health, family planning, girls in schools, unpaid work, child marriage, women in agriculture and women in the workplace. Each topic is powerful and insightful. Some topics may seem far removed because of their locale, but there are others that are undeniably universal.

“Equal education moves people toward empowerment, but unequal education does the reverse. Of all the divisive tools that are used to push people to the margins, unequal education is the most damaging and enduring. Unless there is an explicit effort to include everyone, schools will never be a remedy for exclusion; they will be a cause of it.” 

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Image source: Gates Foundation
The breaking of barriers for girls going to school is still a work in progress. Though improvements have been made, more than 130 million girls around the world are still missing out on the opportunity to go to school. When girls go to school, they have the opportunity to break free of poverty, pursue careers and advance their communities.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Image Source: Gates Foundation
Developed nations like America are not free of this issue. Though the problem may not specifically be girls being kept out of school, the issue of educational equity in regards to content and rigor is still prevalent based on student zip codes. Without a proper education, the cycle of poverty is more likely to continue with the families, communities and nation missing out on the full potential of these individuals. 
Students in Chicago classroom pursuing educational equity
Image Source: Gates Foundation
Education lays the foundation for women to enter the workplace, cultivate their talents and pursue their dreams. Melinda points out that once in the workplace, women still face biases and barriers that must be overcome in the fight for equity. Gender bias for job or project selection, sexual harassment and ineffective or nonexistent maternal leave policies all contribute to a sometimes uphill battle.

 Is there a solution to the workplace inequality? Melinda describes how creating a community for culture change is a good place to start, along with workplace policies that support family life. 

“We’re quick to criticize gender injustice when we see it around the world. We also need to see it where most of us feel it and can do something about it--in the places where we work.” 
Women seeking voting rights
Image Source: Gates Foundation
With work to be done across the globe and issues needing solutions, what can you do? Is it possible to make a difference? As Melinda points out, it can all begin with a conversation. As women start talking with one another, they lift one another up and empowerment becomes a driving force for positive change.  

“Gender diversity is not just good for women; it’s good for anyone who wants results.” 
Melinda Gates Moment of Lift Book
Book image via Amazon
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