THE MOMENT OF LIFT - by Melinda Gates

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Published: April 2019 - Flatiron.
Genres: Memoir / non fiction.   
Pages: 273.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Adult themes. 
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. I voluntarily read & reviewed this copy. All thoughts are my own.

For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission. Her goal, as co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has been to find solutions for people with the most urgent needs, wherever they live. Throughout this journey, one thing has become increasingly clear to her: If you want to lift a society up, invest in women.

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 all women should be free to decide whether and when to have children, Gates took her first step onto the global stage to make a stand for family planning. 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.

Everyone - and I mean everyone - should read this book. These are stories and messages we as a society need to take to heart, and even better, learn from and put into practice.

Melinda Gates writes beautifully. Her voice is so humble, so inoffensive, and every sentence comes straight from the heart. It's as if she's sitting beside you and sharing these stories face-to-face. There are no airs and graces, no flowery language, it's just her and these women and accounts of their lives. It'll make you cry, but I think everyone needs to hear what these women go through. 

Empathy is the underlying theme of this book. As Gates shares stories from poverty stricken countries all over the world and intimately acquaints you with the day to day struggles of these abused and disadvantaged women, she urges for empathy. For understanding. It's such a powerful, wonderful message. Because I can't do it justice in a simple review, I thought I'd share some passages from the book, just to give you a sense of what The Moment of Lift is all about... 

   When people can’t agree, it’s often because there is no empathy, no sense of shared experience. If you feel what others feel, you’re more likely to see what they see. Then you can understand one another. Then you can move to the honest and respectful exchange of ideas that is the mark of a successful partnership. That’s the source of progress."

   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 being 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." 

   Being a feminist means believing that every woman should be able to use her voice and pursue her potential, and that women and men should all work together to take down the barriers and end the biases that still hold women back."

The only aspect of the book I think could have been better was the structure. Despite the chapter titles, there isn't one topic for each chapter, and stories and sections are constantly overlapping. It's not a mess, because this isn't a fictional narrative with a plot, but could've been simpler and more linear.

   That is the secret of empowering education: A girl learns she is not who she's been told she is. She is equal of anyone, and she has rights she needs to assert and defend. This is how the great movements of social change get traction: When outsiders reject the low self image society has imposed on them and begin to author a self image of their own." 

   A girl who is given love and support can start to break the self image that keeps her down. As she gains self confidence, she sees she can learn. As she learns, she sees her own gifts. As she develops her gifts, she sees her own power; she can defend her own rights. This is what happens when you offer girls love, not hate.  You lift their gaze. They gain their voice." 

Her voice a beacon of empathy, humility, and hope, Melinda Gates shares stories of abuse and discrimination from women around the world.  Through these experiences, Gates explores the urgent need for resources and new conversations that inevitably lead to female empowerment. 
Everyone needs to read this book. 

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