Read of the Week

The Moment of Lift

Melinda Gates

Pan Macmillan

Review: Nolusindiso Mgujulwa

Through her travels Melinda Gates has come to the realisation that if you want to uplift a society, empower and invest in its women.

In this book, Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with her husband, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, shares the stories of some of the inspiring women she’s met around the world.

She compares data and points out important issues that need our attention such as gender inequality, child labour, the importance of contraceptives and family planning.

Gates describes how her multiple encounters with women in rural villages broadened her perspective from a narrow focus on family planning to more comprehensive initiatives, including everything from educating girls to maternal and child health. She also provides simple and effective ways each one of us can make a difference.

This book is a thoughtful look at the problems behind inequality among some of the most marginalised people in the world.

Gates writes about how talking with both young and old women about family planning and contraceptives laid bare many more of the worst injustices women face worldwide, such as female genital cutting, child marriage, rape, domestic violence and unpaid labour. Her stories of meeting some of these women and girls are heartbreaking but essential reading, especially for us South Africans who may not be as aware of these practices as we should be.

Some of these women experience extreme poverty and isolation, which makes it almost impossible for them to provide for and protect their children.

As a result, the cycle of abuse and poverty continues.

Gates says it’s important to start shifting the dynamic at home which will then extend to the wider community: “When a woman has her full voice and decision-making authority, she empowers everybody around her.”

If you want to understand the roots of poverty in our country and others, then read this book.

You will be moved to tears by the compassion in so many souls.