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Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Vintage)

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Jim Breithaupt, October 22, 2014 (view all comments by Jim Breithaupt)
I gave this book to my daughter several years ago and have just now gotten around to reading it. I shouldn't have waited this long. The authors describe a global epidemic of violence against women through the stories of women many of whom have not only survived but risen above the worst of horrors to become socialist activists. Others, however, have died at the hands of human traffickers or inadequate or non-existent health care. This is a brave book about brave women whose suffering goes largely unrecognized because they are women in rural and poor villages. The work behind this book is worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize.
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sikoya, March 19, 2013 (view all comments by sikoya)
This book writes about the human rights violations against women and girls in the developing world. Nicholas Kristof, writer for the New York Times, and his wife Sheryl WuDunn, move through Africa and Asia, and interview and speak with amazing women that are struggling there. From Sex slavery to limited access to health care (simply because they are female), its all there.

With great intelligence and skill, Kristof and WuDunn describe these atrocities, and it just may move you to action. The book has a great appendix of NGO's for getting involved.

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Reader2, January 7, 2013 (view all comments by Reader2)
This is the type of book that shifts your perspective. A hard read, as the data is squishy at best, and the language for how to discuss these subjects does not yet carry the cultural detachment we expect in most "global" discussions. It is easy to slip into outrage or condescension, as a means of gaining some emotional distance, since the topics and facts to digest are so painful. The book does both. But the argument is very strong for allowing women to fully participate in society. We should not be afraid to speak up about a better and more prosperous future if we start investing heavily in the girls out there. Many of my immigrant friends in America fled home societies that did support their investing heavily in their daughters. My friends in the US military say seeing the treatment of daughters overseas was one of the hardest things to grapple with. We need everyone's voice on this topic, in daily conversation, to create a brighter future.
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smartchick.nina, February 9, 2012 (view all comments by smartchick.nina)
Few books have inspired me and educated me the way this book did! Offering a true, heartbreaking and at the same time heartwarming perspective of gender issues and oppression worldwide, I couldn't put it down. Although it recalls true stories of terrible violence, frustrating and stifling limitations imposed on women (including sex slavery, fistulas, lack of maternal health) it also offers ways this can be changed. I finished it with a passionate desire to change and an understanding of how changing women's issues will positively affect so much else in the world. This book is well written, well researched and I think it'll really strike a chord with you no matter who you are!
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(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Anna Pujol, January 29, 2012 (view all comments by Anna Pujol)
This is an incredible book that details the state of women in the Developing World.
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Product Details

Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Vintage Books USA
WuDunn, Sheryl
Kristof, Nicholas D.
Political Freedom & Security - Human Rights
Political Advocacy
Women's Studies - General
Women -- Developing countries.
Women's rights -- Developing countries.
Gender Studies-Womens Studies
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
7.96x5.14x.99 in. .70 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Current Affairs » General
History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » General
History and Social Science » Feminist Studies » World Feminism
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Human Rights
History and Social Science » Politics » International Studies
History and Social Science » World History » General

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Vintage) Used Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780307387097 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

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.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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.)
"Review" by , "[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."
"Review" by , "Kristof and WuDunn forcefully contend that improving the lot of girls and women benefits everyone.... Intelligent, revealing and important."
"Review" by , "Kristof and WuDunn reinforce the truth behind the terrible statistics with passionately reported personal stories...including a final chapter suggesting how readers can help."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "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."
"Synopsis" by , 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.
"Synopsis" by , 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.

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