The Moment of Lift

How Empowering Women Changes the World

by Melinda Gates

Number of pages: 288

Publisher: Flatiron Book

BBB Library: Politics and Public Affairs

ISBN: 978-1250313577

About the Author

Melinda French Gates is a philanthropist, businesswoman, and global advocate for women and girls. As the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda sets the direction and priorities of the world’s largest philanthropy. She is also the founder of Pivotal Ventures, an investment and incubation company working to drive social progress for women and families in the United States. Melinda grew up in Dallas, Texas. She received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Duke University and an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School. Melinda spent the first decade of her career developing multimedia products at Microsoft before leaving the company to focus on her family and philanthropic work.


Editorial Review

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. As she writes in the introduction, “That is why I had to write this book-to share the stories of people who have given focus and urgency to my life. I want all of us to see ways we can lift women up where we live.” Melinda’s unforgettable narrative is backed by startling data as she presents the issues that most need our attention-from child marriage to lack of access to contraceptives to gender inequity in the workplace. And, for the first time, she writes about her personal life and the road to equality in her own marriage. Throughout, she shows how there has never been more opportunity to change the world-and ourselves. Writing with emotion, candor, and grace, she introduces us to remarkable women and shows the power of connecting with one another. When we lift others up, they lift us up, too.    

Book Reviews

"Part memoir, part call to action, Gates’s compassionate narrative underscores her determination to leave a positive mark on this world. She inspires and emboldens in this eloquently argued work.”

"MelindaGates explains how, through her own private revelations, she’s come to believe that access to contraception and family planning for all women across the world is the key component to that missing moment of “uplift” in women’s lives."

"It's possible, of course, that the sole purpose ofThe Moment of Liftis to publicize the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's sex- and gender-focused programs, which range from funding community centers for sex workers in India to providing access to contraception in Kenya. These programs are highly impressive and worthy."

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Wisdom to Share

When we women can use talent and energy, we begin to speak in our own voices for our own values, and that makes everybody’s life better.

As women gain rights, families flourish, and so do societies.

From high rates of education, employment, and economic growth to low rates of teen births, domestic violence, and crime—the inclusion and elevation of women correlates with the signs of a healthy society.

Poverty is not being able to protect your family.

Poverty is not being able to save your children when mothers with more money could. And because the strongest instinct of a mother is to protect her children, poverty is the most disempowering force on earth.

If love were enough to save a life, no mother would ever bury her baby—we need the science as well. But the way you deliver the science is just as important as the science itself.

When the women were able to time and space their pregnancies, they were more likely to advance their education, earn an income, raise healthy children, and have the time and money to give each child the food, care, and education needed to thrive.

There’s something empowering about being asked. It sends a message that your life matters.

I’ve come to learn that stigma is always an effort to suppress someone’s voice. It forces people to hide in shame. The best way to fight back is to speak up—to say openly the very thing that others stigmatize.

It’s the mark of a backward society—or a society moving backward—when decisions are made for women by men.

There’s no morality without empathy.

Of all the divisive tools that are used to push people to the margins, unequal education is the most damaging and enduring.

Tradition without discussion kills moral progress.