Harsha Kokel's Reviews > The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

The Moment of Lift by Melinda French Gates
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it was amazing
bookshelves: captivating, recommend, buy

This book is heartbreaking and heartening at the same time.

Melinda Gates shares stories of various women from marginal communities. These stories are not about some off chance tragic event or a once in a lifetime catastrophe, but about believes and societal norms which are observed for generations and perhaps followed by more than the number of women in my life. Some of the stories were gut-wrenching and brought a lump in my throat. They are stories about their way of life, from a different world. The stories left me sympathizing with these women and feeling grateful to my parents for giving us the world full of opportunities. I am also inspired by Gates foundation and commend them on the work they have undertaken. It is important to change the living condition of the poorest but it is more important for that change to come from within. Melinda highlights this point in the book and I agree.

She highlights the importance of gender equality and how it is necessary not only for women but for men. How family planning not only benefits women's health but the whole family. Why recognizing the sources of unhappiness is so important and how by communication we can convert that to a source of support. I see the difference between equal partnership vs equal ownership in a marriage. Just dividing the work equally and making sure one is not in the way of other is equal ownership, which is not healthy, but equal partnership -- both are equally responsible for the same thing goes a long way.

She also talks about Women in Tech and gives us key attributed to the insidious work environment: If you are being shamed for being a caretaker or taking a vacation to meet your family. The work environment is not right. In the last couple of chapters, she writes how and why women have tendencies to hide the mess and be perfect, I totally resonate that mindset. Note to self: It is important to be open about the mess and imperfectness, that makes the learning experience satisfying.
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Quotes Harsha Liked

Melinda French Gates
“If you don’t set your own agenda, somebody else will.” If I didn’t fill my schedule with things I felt were important, other people would fill my schedule with things they felt were important.”
Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

Melinda French Gates
“Faith in action to me means going to the margins of society, seeking out those who are isolated, and bringing them back in. I was putting my faith into action when I went into the field and met the women who asked me about contraceptives. So, yes, there is a Church teaching about contraceptives—but there is another Church teaching, which is love of neighbor. When a woman who wants her children to thrive asks me for contraceptives, her plea puts these two Church teachings into conflict, and my conscience tells me to support the woman’s desire to keep her children alive. To me, that aligns with Christ’s teaching to love my neighbor.”
Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

Melinda French Gates
“Wisdom isn’t about accumulating more facts; it’s about understanding big truths in a deeper way. Year by year, with the support and insights of friends and partners and people who have gone before me, I see more clearly that the 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 their children.”
Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

Melinda French Gates
“Being a feminist means believing that every woman should be able to use her voice and pursue her potential, and that women and men should all work together to take down the barriers and end the biases that still hold women back.”
Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

Melinda French Gates
“It's the mark of a backward society - or a society moving backward - when decisions are made for women by men.”
Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

Melinda French Gates
“Anyone can be made to feel like an outsider. It’s up to the people who have the power to exclude. Often it’s on the basis of race. Depending on a culture’s fears and biases, Jews can be treated as outsiders. Muslims can be treated as outsiders. Christians can be treated as outsiders. The poor are always outsiders. The sick are often outsiders. People with disabilities can be treated as outsiders. Members of the LGBTQ community can be treated as outsiders. Immigrants are almost always outsiders. And in most every society, women can be made to feel like outsiders—even in their own homes.
Overcoming the need to create outsiders is our greatest challenge as human beings. It is the key to ending deep inequality. We stigmatize and send to the margins people who trigger in us the feelings we want to avoid. This is why there are so many old and weak and sick and poor people on the margins of society. We tend to push out the people who have qualities we’re most afraid we will find in ourselves—and sometimes we falsely ascribe qualities we disown to certain groups, then push those groups out as a way of denying those traits in ourselves. This is what drives dominant groups to push different racial and religious groups to the margins.
And we’re often not honest about what’s happening. If we’re on the inside and see someone on the outside, we often say to ourselves, “I’m not in that situation because I’m different. But that’s just pride talking. We could easily be that person. We have all things inside us. We just don’t like to confess what we have in common with outsiders because it’s too humbling. It suggests that maybe success and failure aren’t entirely fair. And if you know you got the better deal, then you have to be humble, and it hurts to give up your sense of superiority and say, “I’m no better than others.” So instead we invent excuses for our need to exclude. We say it’s about merit or tradition when it’s really just protecting our privilege and our pride.”
Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

Reading Progress

December 8, 2019 – Started Reading
December 8, 2019 – Shelved
January 14, 2020 –
January 14, 2020 – Finished Reading

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