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Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
by Nicholas D. Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn

#1 National Bestseller

From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.

They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.

Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.

Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.

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Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Mary Ann Gwinn

Mary Ann Says:

This book documents the “diffuse cruelty of indifference” that causes women and girls to die every day in large numbers all over the world, from violence and neglect.  Kristof and Wu Dunn use three high-profile issues to make their case:  forced prostitution, honor killing and maternal mortality. It’s one of those books whose name has become a buzzword for a huge worldwide problem. And it’s not just gloom and doom; the resourcefulness these two document in women, even those enduring privation most of us could not imagine, is a continual inspiration to behold.

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From: Rebekah Travis on 2015-04-03 15:08:46
This book is hard for me to review. The information and the facts presented are important and I agree that worldwide misogyny should be our #1 social justice issue. However, something about the tone of the book was bothersome. I am not sure who the authors' audience is (I'm assuming wealthy white women), but he appears to think his audience is either really dumb and/or immoral and the book kept coming off as preachy and patronizing. There are lots of criticisms of potential Western involvement, first for not participating and then HOW we participate, etc. He first criticizes lack of awareness. However, nothing the author presented was information that was new to me or presented in a new light, and I have followed better written pieces about these issues. Then, he criticizes Americans for not traveling to overseas areas. However, he brags about how it's dangerous and how we should risk malaria, etc. to go. He seems to be bragging about himself (see the author's bio on Goodreads - about how he brags on his blog about an "African plane crash" etc) and I don't think going on a "suffering/poverty" tour would be helpful to anyone. He criticizes anyone who gives to other organizations in their local areas, as if charity/volunteerism is an all-or-nothing game. (How DARE people give to HIGH BROW organizations like universities or the arts!) And he makes it sound as if misogyny is only a developing world issue and focusing our attention on it here at home would be pointless and privileged. I work in social work/psychology and believe me, violence against women and children, lack of prenatal care, lack of healthcare/reproductive rights, rape, poverty, job/educational discrimination, etc all still happen in our capitalist Westernized countries buddy. Also his best solution seems to be exploiting cheap foreign labor through capitalism. We are supposed to feel "okay" with this, because the women are working in sweatshops and making some money, rather than being sex slaves. Another pet peeve - every single story he wrote about a woman began with a physical description of her, usually describing either how pretty or how "small/petite" she was. Again, the most important feature of womanhood is how attractive we are physically? To men? Are ugly women not worth saving? Give me a break. Even the teenage high school girl who had started charitable organizations was described as looking like a "prom queen." I don't recall a single physical description of any of the men in the book. Overall, an important topic but I am not a fan of the business school "social entrepreneur" model presented in this book and having a white male ORDER me how to help and which charities to donate to was annoying.
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