For the last twenty years, Melinda Gates has been on a mission 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, you need to stop keeping women down. In this moving and compelling book, Melinda shares lessons she’s learned from the inspiring people she’s met during her work and travels around the world.
... proclaims a present-tense optimism that I soon realized is neither naïve nor presumptuous ... To her enduring credit, The Moment of Lift humbly and pointedly interweaves her intentional experience of a world beyond affluence and gets to the point, the places in life where 'lift' happens. As she tells it with compelling candor, there are many points of engagement and numerous 'moments of lift' ... doesn’t claim to be a definitive guidebook for how to 'do good' in the world, nor is it a self-justifying 'warm fuzzy' outpouring of an entitled celeb whose name itself conveys power. If anything, readers will be struck by Gates’ humility and even vulnerability in the face of these remarkably resilient women who gave her unique, unvarnished opportunities to share the best and worst parts of their lives ... should be a must-read for anyone involved in volunteer or philanthropic work of any kind. It will clear the lens through which we see the entire human family.
It’s a fair guess that back in Dallas, young Melinda never considered she’d one day proudly pronounce herself an 'ardent feminist' or boldly and publicly oppose a core teaching of her church — on contraception — all while calling out that institution’s male hierarchy who once put and now keeps it in place. Yet in her potent and laudable book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, that’s precisely what she does ... [Gates is] a keenly appealing narrator and in many ways the book is a graceful account of her own personal consciousness-raising as a woman.
What is the book trying to achieve? For much of The Moment of Lift it's impossible to tell. Gates goes long on heartwarming anecdotes, short on argument. She writes often about lifting women up, but it can be difficult to tell how she expects readers without tech fortunes to do so ... If Gates had fully owned her goal — writing a book that would strengthen some readers' abortion-rights convictions, and open other readers' minds to a women's rights argument — she would have turned her rhetorical question into a call for advocacy. Most readers don't have the ability to create change by sector, and creating change person by person goes only so far. Most people don't have foundations, but most people can advocate for egalitarian laws and support the candidates who will pass them. It's too bad Gates didn't focus on that kind of lift.