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Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Vintage)by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
In this thought-provoking and profoundly inspiring book, Kristof and WuDunn reveal the cruel and maddening reality faced by women who experience violence and oppression. Half the Sky will stir feelings of admiration and discomfort, and hopefully sow the seeds of humanitarian activism.
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"New York Times columnist Kristof and his wife, WuDunn, a former Times reporter, make a brilliantly argued case for investing in the health and autonomy of women worldwide. 'More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century,' they write, detailing the rampant 'gendercide' in the developing world, particularly in India and Pakistan. Far from merely making moral appeals, the authors posit that it is impossible for countries to climb out of poverty if only a fraction of women (9% in Pakistan, for example) participate in the labor force. China's meteoric rise was due to women's economic empowerment: 80% of the factory workers in the Guangdong province are female; six of the 10 richest self-made women in the world are Chinese. The authors reveal local women to be the most effective change agents: 'The best role for Americans... isn't holding the microphone at the front of the rally but writing the checks,' an assertion they contradict in their unnecessary profiles of American volunteers finding 'compensations for the lack of shopping malls and Netflix movies' in making a difference abroad. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[T]his gripping call to conscience...tackles atrocities and indignities.... But the poignant portraits of survivors humanize the issues, divulging facts that moral outrage might otherwise eclipse." New York Times
"Kristof and WuDunn forcefully contend that improving the lot of girls and women benefits everyone.... Intelligent, revealing and important." Kirkus Reviews
"Kristof and WuDunn reinforce the truth behind the terrible statistics with passionately reported personal stories...including a final chapter suggesting how readers can help." Booklist
"Superb....As Rachel Carson's Silent Spring once catalyzed us to save our birds and better steward our earth, Half the Sky stands to become a classic, spurring us to spare impoverished women these terrors, and elevate them to turn around the future of their nations." Susan Ager, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"This book isn't a sermon....These stories are electrifying and have the effect of breaking down this enormous problem into segments the reader can focus on. Suddenly, these horrendous problems begin to seem solvable....Again, this book is not a sermon about victims. Its range is wide, and sometimes it's even funny....Half the Sky is a call to arms, a call for help, a call for contributions, but also a call for volunteers. It asks us to open our eyes to this enormous humanitarian issue. It does so with exquisitely crafted prose and sensationally interesting material...I really do think this is one of the most important books I have ever reviewed." Carolyn See, The Washington Post
Two Pulitzer Prize winners issue a call to arms against our era's most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women in the developing world.
A call to arms against our era's most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women in the developing world.
With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake a journey through Africa and Asia to meet an extraordinary array of women struggling under profoundly dire circumstances: a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery; an Ethiopian woman left for dead after a difficult birth; an Afghan wife beaten ruthlessly by her husband and mother-in-law. But we meet, as well, those who have triumphed — a formerly illiterate fistula patient who became a surgeon in Addis Ababa; an Indian woman who saved herself and her children from prostitution — and those who make it their work to provide hope and help to other women: the victim of gang rape who galvanized the international community and created schools in rural Pakistan; the former Peace Corps volunteer who founded an organization that educates and campaigns for women's rights in Senegal. Through their stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to progress lies in unleashing women's potential — and they make clear how each of us can help make that happen.
Fiercely moral, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.
About the Author
Sheryl WuDunn is married to Nicholas D. Kristof and they were the first married couple to win a Pulitzer Prize for journalism. As longtime foreign correspondents for the New York Times, they won the prize for their coverage of the Tiananmen student movement in China and its bloody suppression. Mr. Kristof won a second Pulitzer for his op-ed columns in the Times. He has also served as bureau chief in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Tokyo, and as associate managing editor. At the Times, Ms. WuDunn worked as a business editor and as a foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Beijing. They live near New York City.
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