Monday, 4 November 2019

The Moment of Lift! (Mindscape Reviews)

Hi Readers! I recently read ‘The Moment of Lift’ by Melinda Gates. It was in my TBR for a while, but I finally got to it because I was bored of reading fictional novels. When I first read the index, it was all about gender equality, family planning & women empowerment. Sadly, my first instinct was to not read it because it sounded like a geography textbook. But, when I read one chapter, I couldn’t stop! It is now the BEST BOOK I HAVE READ IN MY LIFE. Not just this year, not just in non-fiction, but from all of the 200 some books I have read in my life, this is the best one. Since I have high standards, you know how much this actually means! So, go ahead & buy it already.

The Moment of Lift is a book reflecting on how empowering women changes the world. It has topics such as Maternal & Newborn Health, Family Planning, Girls in Schools, Unpaid Work, Child Marriage, Women in Agriculture, Women in the Workplace & the last chapter – Let Your Heart Break: The Lift of Coming Together.

In the chapter of Family Planning, you can clearly understand Melinda Gates’ emotions from all the stories she has mentioned. All the sadness, anger, rage & determination! In this chapter, she has given a lot of examples. She has also mentioned how we globally have improved when it comes to the use of contraceptives. And then at the end, you read the main shocker. She builds up a nice graph from the 1970s till 2019 & finally talks about how the US is taking away the funding for FDA approved contraceptives & also eliminating the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, among other things. You read so much about how the use of contraceptives is essential only for the chapter to end on such a drastic note. It haunts you & makes you think about what the hell is happening in the world!

Melinda Gates has given many facts & data around gender inequality. There were a lot of stories as well. But half the chapter she also talks about her & Bill's equal partnership. How it changed focus from being only a partnership to only equality to finally an equal partnership. She talks a lot about this which I found a bit out of place for this book, but then of course, she's smarter than most people so she also writes a justification for that. She says, "We can change the culture by sharing our stories. That's why I'm sharing mine" & "It seems false to me to work on issues in the world while pretending I have them solved in my own life." When you read such absolute honestly from the author herself, you cannot not go in to deep thinking over everything that she has observed & written.

You know that child marriage is prevalent in the remote parts of the world, but when you read about Melinda's first hand interaction with the child brides, it just breaks your heart. These girls aged 7 to 11 getting tricked by their own parents into getting married made me sad at first & then angry. When you leave in a city far away from these problems, they start to seem unreal. But, after reading about them in ‘The Moment of Lift’ has made me think about how much more is yet to be accomplished.

In this chapter, Melinda Gates tell us how almost all of the farmers are women. In all of these issues, Melinda never hesitates to admit how naive she was about things. She isn’t embarrassed to admit it because after learning about all these issues, she has done a lot of work to fix them at her own pace. That's why it's another reason why you feel like you're reading a fellow human's words who isn't perfect but more so like most of us. It feels like reading a book written by another human being, not a person who is the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation living in the first world country.

All the chapters are important & this book needs to be read at least twice by every person on this planet. I have given a gist of the chapters that really touched me. Please Please Please read the book! If you are not yet convinced, read more about the author below!

The best thing about these topics is that the author hasn’t put a lot of facts & data into it. Yes, there is data. But, it is always accompanied with real life stories. Melinda Gates has travelled the remotest parts of the world & shared it with us. She talks about how we need to focus on the people who are on the edge. We need to make outsiders feel like insiders & stop creating a world where there is an inside-outside parameter. Her experiences are remarkable & it reflects in all the stories she has written.

Every story in every remote village has a lot of indiscrimination. There are stories where the women in the family have no idea about family planning. They have more than 6 babies with less than 1 year between each of them, which makes bodies of women & their children weak & more susceptible to diseases.

There is the story where a young daughter’s mother has to work as a sex worker only to put food on the table for them. And, when the daughter understands this about her mother, the daughter commits suicide. There are a lot of such haunting things that are still happening in the world. The writing is so empathetic that it gives you goosebumps while reading about all the tragedies. It makes you want to quit your meaningless job & join their Foundation & make an actual change. It moves you in a big what-is-my-purpose-in-life kind of way. I felt like Melinda Gates should be the Queen of the World & whatever she tells us to do should be the final word. There is still a long way to go. There are still a lot of things to be done. The first step would definitely be for everyone to read this precious book. Because if this book cannot make you want to do something, then nothing can.

Needless to say that I rated ‘The Moment of Lift’ at 5/5 on Goodreads. Go read it!!
Until next time,

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