Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Title: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Author: Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn

Published: September 8th, 2009

Pages: 294

Genre: Nonfiction, Feminism, Social Movements

Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group

Listened to on Overdrive


Wreath(13)-BlackGoodreads Description: 

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.

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.



Things I enjoyed about this book: 

Thinking about things I “enjoyed” about Half the Sky is kind of sickening. Nothing about it was enjoyable. I did love how educated I became on women’s rights in other countries. I needed to be made aware of what was going on. I had no idea the horrors and challenges that women face in 3rd world countries. I loved that this book was eye opening. It has give me the desire to jump in and do what I can.

The Things I Didn’t Enjoy: 

While this book was information, there were many times I felt like it was too over the top with PLEASE DONATE. They could have said it once or twice and I was convinced. The stories convinced me, not the repeated call for donations.


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Nicholas and Sheryl deserve 5 out of 5 bird feathers for their time and dedication to Half the Sky. This book hit me hard. It wasn’t easy to listen to by any means, but because of it I am more educated about the world that surrounds me, not just my personal experiences.  I had a distinct impression while reading this book that this is my time to become more educated, which is exactly what the book is calling for.  There were times it was very graphic- but it needed to be. We can’t cover up reality. Can you imagine have your neither regions examined just to make sure your hymen intact, just because you spent were alone with a man in the desert for five minutes? My heart broke while reading this book, I wanted to take in every single girl and protect them from what they will eventually face. Read this book. It will be hard, just because something is hard doesn’t mean to avoid it, tackle it. Learn from this and be part of the social movement to end sexual slaves and progress women’s rights!

Parent’s Guide:

This talks about sex, rape, mutilation, and every horrible thing you could ever imagine. It’s not like 50 Shades of Grey dirty- it’s informational. This is one worth throwing the headphones on around the kids, but power through. It’s worth it.


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