Melinda French Gates in TIME: Could this be a moment of lift for women?
An illustration of women standing on each other's shoulders to form a pyramid

Melinda French Gates in TIME: Could this be a moment of lift for women?

In a new piece in TIME, Melinda French Gates, the founder of Pivotal Ventures, writes about why empowering women and girls—the topic of her 2019 book, The Moment of Lift—is more urgent than ever.

When her book came out two years ago, Melinda believed the world was “on the cusp of a new era for women and girls.” Then, the pandemic hit—with severe consequences for women in the U.S. and around the world. Violence against women has increased. Experts fear maternal deaths may too. And women are losing more jobs while also taking on more caregiving responsibilities.

Yet, as Melinda notes in her essay, while women have faced hardships throughout the pandemic, they’ve also led the fight against it. They are serving as front-line healthcare workers, shaping the response of countries like Germany and New Zealand, and keeping communities running through their jobs as pharmacists, grocery store clerks, and other essential workers.

Melinda ends the essay by describing the world that is possible if countries prioritize an equitable, inclusive response to COVID-19:

“The crisis that disproportionately impacted women will be followed by a recovery that puts them at the center: The very financial systems that have excluded the poorest women will begin connecting them with the bank accounts they need to climb out of poverty. Policymakers in all corners of the globe will begin treating caregiving as essential infrastructure, making it possible for more women to engage in their economies and communities. Governments, businesses, and organizations will begin including women’s voices at all levels of decision-making. And the women whose unsung, underpaid work finally has been recognized as essential will find new security and opportunity in the world that emerges from the other side.”

Read the full essay in TIME.