The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates
Published by Flatiron Books on April 23rd, 2019
Genres: Feminism, Non-Fiction
“If you want to lift up humanity, empower women. It is the most comprehensive, pervasive, high-leverage investment you can make in human beings.”
A book by the one and only Melinda Gates? Yes, please!
In this candid and inspiring book, Gates traces her awakening to the link between women’s empowerment and the health of societies. She shows some of the tremendous opportunities that exist right now to “turbo-charge” change. And she provides simple and effective ways each one of us can make a difference.
Convinced that women should be free to decide whether and when to have children, Gates first focused on making a stand for family planning on the global stage. That step launched her into further efforts: to ensure women everywhere have access to every kind of job; to encourage men around the globe to share equally in the burdens of household work; to advocate for paid family leave for everyone; to eliminate gender bias in all its forms.
And she convinces readers that if you want to lift a society up, invest in women.
I knew I was going to love this book because of the subject matter, but I had no idea I’d love it this much.
I borrowed a copy from the library, but I’d like to own this as part of my book collection.
This is the feminist text that people need to read in school and in life.
It’s a memoir, but it never felt like Gates was tooting her own horn when it came to her life and her accomplishments.
She did a great job weaving in stories about her life while keeping it about the people she’s met along the way and how she was transformed by their experiences and stories.
I knew that she was involved with philanthropy, but this book illuminated just how active she is in so many causes. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has done incredible work finding solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live.
We need the help of every advocate now. Women and men. No one should be left out. Everyone should be brought in. Our call is to lift women up—and when we come together in this cause, we are the lift.
Like I said earlier, this book never feels like Gates is boasting about herself. In fact, she introduces us to her heroes in the movement toward equality. She shares data and statistics, and pushes the discussion forward by sharing some moving conversations she’s had with women from all around the world.
And it wouldn’t be a great feminist text if Gates didn’t include some very basic and easy tips that we can all follow through on to help the movement toward equality.
I felt empowered as I read the last page.
I appreciated Gates showing us her journey into becoming a feminist as well as an activist.
And what was so refreshing is that she’s honest! She flat out says that she didn’t consider herself a feminist and she very much bought into the idea of what was expected of her as a woman and as a wife.
She shows the reader that everyone starts from somewhere. You don’t need to know everything all at once or else you’re a bad feminist. It’s about choosing to educate yourself and to work with others to lift women up.
We have to wake up to the ways we exclude. We have to open our arms and our hearts to the people we’ve pushed to the margins. It’s not enough to help outsiders fight their way in—the real triumph will come when we no longer push anyone out.
One of my favourite chapters was the one that she was the most scared to write. She was honest about Bill not pulling his weight in their marriage as a husband and as a father. I didn’t expect her to go there at all. But she explains that everyone has to learn—not just women. And now he’s one of the biggest advocates from women and gender equality!
And as someone who works in tech, I also found the chapter on workplace culture to be fascinating. It’s something that every startup and every company in tech needs to make a priority.
I’d recommend this to anyone who’s a fan of feminist memoirs, but also someone who’s looking to educate themselves more about the plight of women around the world to gain access to the most basic and fundamental things in life.
Together, we are the lift.