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The Moment of Lift - How Empowering Women Changes the World by Melinda Gates

The title of this book caught my eye but the author’s name held my attention. I was curious about Melinda’s story. How could she relate to the issues they are trying to address? Were they merely lining pockets for health companies through their global health campaigns? She tackled each one eloquently.

The words ‘moment of lift’ invokes powerful feelings and inspires a movement to affect change. But how do you create that momentum? It becomes the driving force behind her work.

Their work in global health was born out of a desire to bring the issues of the developing world to the fore, recognising that women exist in the margins of poverty-stricken countries - literally trapped. The issues she raised can never get enough exposure to really shake our consciences. In poor countries, women do not want a hand out; they just want to have a fighting chance. They want equal access to education, health, and land ownership. A voice, to be heard.

I was pleasantly surprised by how Melinda boldly raises the role of religion in reinforcing gender inequalities. Her steadfast faith helps her to face tough criticism from the Catholic Church (being a Catholic herself) for promoting family planning. But it’s not church’s ban on contraceptives that’s the issue; it’s the ban on women priests. Without women priests, there is no empathy. A refreshing perspective.

Empowerment is not about overpowering men! Statistically, women need more self-assurance than men. Hence, the need for women’s empowerment and women’s groups. Women often have to convince ourselves and each other that we deserve an equal partnership before we get one. Sometimes change occurs when men see the value in women being empowered, ‘I will help you when your burdens are high and you will help me when your burdens are low’. It is in that moment we realize that together, we are the lift!

4/5 – highly recommend for the inspirational stories and thought provoking messages.

Book review by Leonora Sinclair

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