The Moment of Lift
This is the most extraordinary book.
Beautifully and simply told, it's part memoir, part manifesto by Melinda Gates, wife of one of the wealthiest, most powerful, most influential men in the world. And it reveals what a force she is in her own right.
Melinda worked at Microsoft before marrying Bill and leaving to raise their three children. She quietly describes her own successful career and her influence in bettering working practices within the organisation. She urges more women to enter the sphere of technology - this is where the rules will be set for the future, globally, yet currently this sector is dominated by men.
The ways in which men have dictated social norms through the generations are laid out in Melinda's accounts of the work of the Foundation.
As she and members of her team have sought to better societies throughout the world through initiatives in family planning, farming and in healthcare, they have repeatedly discovered that culture, tradition and religion have hindered progress, most notably through keeping women in the thrall of men whether these are their husbands, fathers or community leaders.
There are shocking details about violence and abuse of women in the home, birth rates, child brides, female cutting, sex workers, and the unpaid work women are expected to fulfil and which is rarely counted but which affects so many areas of progress and productivity.
This is the most astonishing book. I read it in a day, scribbling notes as I went and, as soon as I finished, I started reading it all over again. I've given it to friends to read, and I will be buying it as a gift again and again. It is the most astonishingly disturbing and distressing read, while also being invigorating, inspiring and uplifting. I am in awe of Melinda Gates in all that she is doing to try to bring about change and her gentle, unassuming, sensitive and compassionate strength.
Read this book!