Wednesday, June 28, 2017

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

Title: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
Authors: Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Knopf
Publish Date: September 8, 2009
Source: Knopf

What's the Story?:

From "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."

My Two Cents: 

"Half the Sky" is an important look at how what policies and aid we provide other countries as a government can help women. In many countries, women still struggle more than their male counterparts. Their choices are limited and the roads to advancing their lives and the lives of their family are limited. This is a huge humanitarian issue and I appreciated the light that the authors were able to shed on this very important subject!

Drawing largely on anecdotes from many different countries, this book seeks to give a human face to the things that way too many women face in the world. Some of the stories are quite hard to read as it hurts to imagine humans having to live the way that many in this book live. It is one thing to think about the foreign aid that the U.S. government gives to other countries as money that goes into a black hole and is merely being taken away from Americans. It is a very different thing to understand what individuals are facing and how lending a hand can make them so much better off. What we do abroad doesn't only have an impact on other countries but on our own country as well. Goodwill pays dividends.

This book is a call to action. You may ask why we should help others abroad when Americans are hurting. First off, foreign aid is a very, very small percentage of the overall U.S. budget but as this book goes, this little bit of money can make a HUGE impact. And yes, it helps people abroad but our world is more stable when we pull up those at the bottom and with all that is going on in the world, stability is not a bad thing. This is a great pick for those wanting to understand more about why continuing to help others outside of our country is so important!


1 comment:

Hi! Welcome to A Bookish Affair. If you leave a comment, I will try to either reply here or on your site!

As of 6/6/2011, this book is now an awards free zone. While I appreciate the awards, I would rather stick to reviewing more great books for you than trying to fill the requirements.

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