Posts Tagged ‘empowering women’

The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

Monday, July 1st, 2019

NOTE: Several years ago I posted two books reviews by Nicholas Kristof and his wife/partner Sheryl WuDunn. They feature women in mostly developing countries who do the bulk of the work in their families with few tools to help them. Here are the links to my reviews:…of-sheryl-wudunn…of-sheryl-wudunn/



Melinda Gates’ new book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, feels like a detailed updated version of the two books I reviewed (links above) several years ago. However, Melinda Gates’ viewpoint and writing style are different and the book was an excellent chronology of how she became involved with her husband Bill Gates (Via The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) to help and to empower women in developing countries to be able to use contraception in order to space their children better for healthier lives, educate young girls to make better life choices, and work within the culture of the countries she visited to understand how to bring information to them that is acceptable.

Her book has so much excellent information and written with a great deal of humility, that the best way I can review it is to list some of the quotes I took from the book:

“If you want to lift up humanity, empower women. It is the most comprehensive, pervasive, high-leverage investment you can make in human beings.”

“Poverty is not being able to protect your family. Poverty is not being able to save your children when mothers with more money could. And because the strongest instinct of a mother is to protect her children, poverty is the most disempowering force on earth

“As soon as we begin to spend more time understanding how people live their lives, we saw that so many barriers to advancement—and so many causes of isolation—can be traced to the limits on the lives of women.

“It hadn’t come as a revelation to me that women want contraceptives. I knew it from my own life, and it was one of the things we supported at the foundation. But after these trips, I began to see it as central, as the first priority for women.

“Contraceptives save the lives of mothers and newborns. Contraceptives also reduce abortion. As a result of contraceptive use, there were 26 million fewer unsafe abortions in the world’s poorest countries in just one year, according to the most recent data.”

Concerning women’s rights:  “I hope… that the fire that drives this defense of family planning fuels a campaign to advance all rights of women, all around the world—so that in the future, in country after country, more and more women will be in the room, sitting at the table, leading the conversation when the policies that affect our lives are made.”

“The lift that comes from sending girls like Sona to school is stunning……Sending girls to school leads to greater literacy, higher wages, faster income growth, and more productive farming…(only a few of the benefits es)

“Love is the most powerful and underused force for change in the world….For me, love is the effort to help others flourish—and it often begins with lifting up a person’s self-image.”

“When women can reduce the time they spend on unpaid work, they increase the time they spend on paid work. In fact, cutting women’s unpaid work from five hours a day to three boosts women’s participation in the labor force by about 20%.”

“Economist Diane Elson came up with a framework in order to help shrink time men spend on unpaid work compared with women. She calls is: recognize, reduce, redistribute.

  1. recognize the unpaid work being done
  2. reduce number of unpaid hours using cook stoves, washing machines, etc.
  3. redistribute work we can’t reduce so that men and women share it more equitably.”

Re: Equal partnership- “Ask this question: Does your primary relationship have love and respect and a sense of teamwork and belonging and mutual growth?”

Quote on p. 149 by her friend Killian, who runs the Recovery Café. “ To be known without being loved is terrifying. To be loved without being known has no power to change us. But to be deeply known and deeply loved transforms 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.”

“Until the day we end all gender-based violence, we need stronger efforts to protect women ans girls. There is no equality without safety.”

“We started out thinking that poor farmers just needed better technology…..But the potential …was not only in the seeds; it was in the power of the women who plant them. This was a huge missed idea….If we want to help farmers, we have to empower women….”


I hope this sampling quotes will inspire you to read this book. Melinda Gates title came from two sources. One is that fact that her father worked in the space program in Texas and took his children to see lift offs into space. The second source was the phrase “moment of lift” from a book by Mark Nepo, which he uses to describe or capture a moment of grace. Additionally, this moment of lift is, according to Gates, a moment of wonder and curiosity, and her book shows her eagerness to know how lift actually happens, in this case, to women when they are empowered.  Excellent metaphor! Excellent book!

(Published by Macmillan Publishers, The Moment of Lift is available at bookstores and online.)





4 Seasons in 4 Weeks: Final 2 sections

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

During the last few months I have been reviewing the incredible book, 4Seasons in 4Weeks by Suzanne Mathis McQueen. For previous postings, click on these internal links. Today’s posting is Chapter 10 and the Conclusion/Epilogue. 1-Fall: The author compares Week 1, Fall to the birthing phase of reproduction, because this is the time the uterus is shedding its contents if you are not pregnant.– Part 2- Winter: The author compared this to the courting phase because our hormones are helping us attract a mate during this week. – Part III- Spring: The author compares this with one’s efforts coming to fruition with others being attracted to them. – Part III- Spring: The author compares this with one’s efforts coming to fruition with others being attracted to them.– Part 4- Summer: The author compares this to the “Fire Season” when PMS is creating issues with our bodies for good reasons.– Chap. 9 on Non-Challenging & Non-Cycling Rhythms

Chapter 10 is entitled Daily Rhythms and asks us to “tap in, turn on, and take charge.” What this means is that you can track your cycle in order to get in sync with your body, mind and spiritual health, understanding that 4s4w is a guideline for managing your cyclic and female body.  McQueen reminds us that only you can fine tune your own system, so each person’s cycle will be somewhat different within the basic framework.

On page 286 is a chart to help you do just that, divided into the four seasons/weeks so you can track your cycle day-by-day and month-by-month. The author advises: “Each month we have the opportunity to re-evaluate, reflect, tune in to, purge, etc. to see what corrections need to be made. It can change the course of our lives to where we need to be.” What the charted cycles will show is where and what needs to be changed so we can see what works and doesn’t work in our lives, whether it be our jobs, our partners, our health or lack of health practices, etc. Keeping track is a great tool and Suzanne’s includes charts you can copy.

The Conclusion is a short essay about the author’s own experience giving birth to her daughter Myan. She learned from a client that the name meant ” water from the spring,” and further that in mythology women were held in high esteem and equal with men in their power. The women were considered Keepers of the Well and spring water came from the womb of Mother Earth, which was later taken over by men. Her client saw the impending birth of Suzanne’s daughter as a sign that the Sacred Feminine (spring water) was returning. I enjoyed the author’s personal feelings about her daughter’s birth, lending credence to her own commitment to female cycles and the gifts of womanhood.

The Epilogue is called “The Rhythmically Intelligent Blueprint,” and as Suzanne writes, “We birth new projects and nurture them to fruition on a regular basis… matter what are ages…..we are hard-wired as females to innovate, create, produce, lead, motivate, transform, rearrange, satisfy, and beautify.”

Once we as women tap into our own wonderful cyclical rhythm, we step into and sign with our womanhood. (I realize that I  could have done this much sooner.) This rite of passage, this claiming our womanhood is our coming home to ourselves and recognizing our gifts, purpose, and satisfaction from claiming ourselves.

The author writes that “When women thrive, the world thrives” and I agree with that. We are very powerful only we often don’t realize it, but if we stay connected in the “web of sisters” we can discover our own Authentic Female, connect with the authenticity in others and  heal ourselves and the planet.  Wow! I did not realize how powerful we are until I read that!

Suzanne’s wonderfully illustrated and beautifully crafted book is available through and other book sources. Cost is $24.95. Great gift for daughters, nieces, students, and other women who can learn how to tap into their gifts as a woman. Check out Suzanne Mathis McQueen’s website: