Quotes from Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

Posted on 2/1/2020, 2:26:06 PM

“Every society says its outsiders are the problem. But the outsiders are not the problem; the urge to create outsiders is the problem. Overcoming that urge is our greatest challenge and our greatest promise. It will take courage and insight, because the people we push to the margins are the ones who trigger in us the feelings we're afraid of.”

― Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World


“As women gain rights, families flourish, and so do societies. That connection is built on a simple truth: Whenever you include a group that's been excluded, you benefit everyone. And when you're working globally to include women and girls, who are half of every population, you're working to benefit all members of every community. Gender equity lifts everyone. Women's rights and society's health and wealth rise together.”

― Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World


“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



“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



“That is why we women have to lift each other up—not to replace men at the top of the hierarchy, but to become partners with men in ending hierarchy.”

― Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World



“Shaming women for their sexuality is a standard tactic for drowning out the voices of women who want to decide whether and when to have children.”

― Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World



“I believe that all lives have equal value. That all men and women are created equal. That everyone belongs. That everyone has rights, and everyone has the right to flourish. I believe that when people who are bound by the rules have no role in shaping the rules, moral blind spots become law, and the powerless bear the burden. … I believe that entrenched social norms that shift society’s benefits to the powerful and its burdens to the powerless not only hurt the people pushed out but also always hurt the whole.”

― Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World



“…contraceptives are the greatest life-saving, poverty-ending, women-empowering innovation ever created.”

― Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World



“What extreme poverty really means is that no matter how hard you work, you’re trapped. You can’t get out. Your efforts barely matter. You’ve been left behind by those who could life you up.”

― Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World



“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



“When women can decide whether and when to have children, it saves lives, promotes health, expands education, and creates prosperity—no matter what country in the world you’re talking about.”

― Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World



“I’ve never held the view that women are better than men, or that the best way to improve the world is for women to gain more power than men. I think male dominance is harmful to society because any dominance is harmful: It means society is governed by a false hierarchy where power and opportunity are awarded according to gender, age, wealth, and privilege—not according to skill, effort, talent, or accomplishments. When a culture of dominance is broken, it activates power in all of us. So the goal for me is not the rise of women and the fall of man. It is the rise of both women and men from a struggle for dominance to a state of partnership.

If the goal is partnership between women and men, why do I put so much emphasis on women’s empowerment and women’s groups? My answer is that we draw strength from each other, and we often have to convince ourselves that we deserve an equal partnership before we get one.”

― Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World



“We all want to have something to offer. This is how we belong. It’s how we feel included. So if we want to include everyone, then we have to help everyone develop their talents and use their gifts for the good of the community. That’s what inclusion means—everyone is a contributor. And if they need help to become a contributor, then we should help them, because they are full members in a community that supports everyone.”

― Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World



“The most radical approach to resistance is acceptance--and acceptance does not mean accepting the world as it is. It means accepting our pain as it is. If we refuse to accept our pain, then we're just trying to make ourselves feel better--and when our hidden motive is to make ourselves to feel better, there is no limit to the damage we can do in the name of justice.”

― Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World



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