Saturday, March 13, 2010

Women hold up half the sky

Today, for the first time, I finished reading Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Pulitzer Prize winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. I started this book already having a strong passion to end every aspect of global poverty, including the oppression of women. But if I had been a person who up to this point was disinterested, unaware, or apathetic to these issues, I honestly believe this book would have changed that greatly. Kristof and WuDunn are amazing writers and jouralists because they understand the importance of telling individual stories to grab your attention and tug at your heart strings. They detail the perils of women and girls all over the world who have endured sex-trafficking, maternal health issues, rape, domestic violence, genital-cutting, unwarranted stigmatization and societal abuse. This book will make you realize the disgusting regularity with which these trajedies take place and make you feel in your core that you want to do something to help.

Fortunately, this book is only half depressing stories and statistics, intended to raise your awareness and compassion for these issues. The other half focuses on the positive, such as the numerous humanitarian organizations that help women to overcome these obstacles in their society and stories of women who broke cultural barriers to fight an injustice or become educated and financially independent. They discuss the importance of emancipating women on a governmental level (promoting education for women, cracking down on brothels), on an individual level (microfinancing, starting an aid organization), and on a societal level (changing culture, supporting foreign aid programmes).

We have every opportunity to give every woman a proper education, moral rights, gender equalities, and the chance to succeed that most of us take for granted. This is no simple task, but the more people fight for it the more we will succeed. The most important message this book offers is that the emancipation of women is essentially the largest driving force in ending global poverty; like education I believe it is a cornerstone to achieving the complete eradication of poverty and disease.  

If you are looking for a way to better yourself and the world around you, I highly recommend that you read this book. Your life will be changed.


  1. hey girl heyyy

    I just caught up on all the new stuff you've done :) This book sounds pretty awesome. I might just borrow it. Or hit Barnes & Noble, if you don't own it ;)


    Your concern for women around the world is quite touching. It's a wonderful thing that this book enlightened you on this issue of global poverty & mistreatment of women. OJ & CHRIS BROWN ought to read this book.