Book Review: The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates

By Sarah Romney

How do we end poverty? World hunger? High death rates? These are complicated issues that people have been trying to solve for centuries, but Melinda Gates proposes that the solution to many of the world’s problems is to give women a voice “because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity.” In The Moment of Lift, Melinda Gates shares stories and lessons she learned while working with her husband, Bill Gates, through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

With the foundation, Melinda Gates has traveled to countries all over the world and met with women from varying cultural backgrounds. Many of the women suffer from sickness, starvation, abuse, and oppression. Because of their conditions, the women’s ability to care for their children is impaired, and entire societies remain inescapably deprived for generations. Melinda explains that as she interacted with leaders and organizations in these countries, she realized the importance of focusing on the root causes of the problems, rather than the symptoms. She presents clear evidence that all of the issues improve as women gain access to family planning, have opportunities for education, are not forced into child marriages, and work together to make their voices heard.

From personal experience as a woman in a male-dominated business world, Melinda Gates has learned to make her voice heard and work as an equal partner with her husband. It was not always easy—she had tough conversations and struggled to overcome personal reservations—but she has established herself as an equal partner with Bill and a strong voice in their organization. The point is not for women “to replace men at the top of the hierarchy, but to become partners with men in ending

hierarchy.” Whether in a marriage relationship, business, or entire society, organizations improve when men and women are on equal ground.

Changes are happening. Societies around the world are improving as women come together to challenge the patterns that have been cemented into cultures for centuries. The work the Gates do has impacted perceptions of women all over the world, and many other organizations are joining this movement to empower women. The Moment of Lift will help you understand the unfortunate realities that many women face. It will help you recognize what you can change in your own attitudes. And most importantly, it will help you see that “if you want to lift up humanity, empower women. It is the most comprehensive, pervasive, high-leverage investment you can make in human beings.”

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