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
andldquo;A corrective to Africaandrsquo;s image as a dark, hopeless placeandhellip;A hopeful narrative about a continent on the rise.andrdquo; andmdash;The New York Times
andquot;The author gives a multitude of examples and a huge mass of fascinating detail. Her case is persuasive...for anyone who wants to understand how the African economy really works, he Bright Continent is a good place to start.andquot; andmdash;Reuters
andldquo;Bright Continent will change your view of Africa. Itand#39;s that simple. Dayo Olopade looks with the eyes of a first-generation Nigerian-American and sees a landscape of ingenuity, technological innovation, and grit. A lively and enjoyable read.andrdquo; andmdash;Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of the New America Foundation and Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University
andldquo;[Olopade] seamlessly traverses the continent, threading a narrative that shows how African innovation is playing a vital role in its own developmentandhellip;This book is filled with numerous examples that ought to make you rethink your perceptions of Africa.andrdquo; andmdash;The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
andquot;Together, these maps form a new mental and strategic landscape, one based on possibilities, not merely perils, and we should be grateful to Olopade for her reimagined cartography.andquot; andmdash;The Plain Dealer
andquot;Dayo Olopade has written a book that bracingly lives up to its title. In it, an Africa we are all too unaccustomed to seeing comes vividly to life thanks to her restless eye and keen curiosity. It is one of local solutions born of necessity and local heroes who arise from even the most fragile soil.andquot; andmdash;Howard French, Associate Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and author of A Continent for the Taking
andldquo;This book captures the complex thoughts of a whole generation of young Africans. Olapode shows Africa as it is, a complicated space occupied by real people with the desire and the power to shape our futures.andrdquo; andmdash;Uzodinma Iweala, author of Beasts of No Nation and editor of Ventures Africa Magazine
andldquo;The Bright Continent is a long overdue and much needed corrective to the dominant perception of Africa. It is a book loaded with revelations of heroic, and often ingenious lives, all of which are eloquently and poignantly brought to life through Dayoandrsquo;s brilliant observations.andrdquo; andmdash;Dinaw Mengestu, author of The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears and All Our Name
andquot;The Bright Continent is an absolute brightness. Sidestepping dead-end debates, the indefatigable Olopade maps out a contemporary Africa which is vital and self-reliant. Her definition of the Yoruba term kanju as and#39;specific creativity born from African difficultyand#39; will enter the English language. Through strong reporting and clear thinking, Olopade demonstrates how to improve the lives of African youth stuck in a purgatory of and#39;waithood.and#39; This is essential reading.andquot; andmdash;J.M. Ledgard, Director, Future Africa, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and longtime Africa correspondent, The Economist
andldquo;In her debut book, Nigerian-American journalist Olopade finds qualified cause for optimism about Africaandrsquo;s futureandhellip;A refreshingly hopeful argument, well-grounded in data and observationandmdash;of considerable interest to students of geopolitics, demographics and economic trends.andrdquo; andmdash;Kirkus
andquot;Nigerian-American journalist Olopadeandrsquo;s first book rebuts the view of Africa as mired in poverty, war, and failed aid projects, and instead offers a hopeful perspective.andquot; andmdash;Publishers Weekly
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.
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.
An exciting new voice offers a fresh portrait of Africans thriving in the face of adversity, showing the way forward for development on the continent and beyond.
The path to progress in Africa lies in the surprising and innovative solutions Africans are finding for themselves
Africa is a continent on the move. Itandrsquo;s often hard to notice, thoughandmdash;the Western focus on governance and foreign aid obscures the individual dynamism and informal social adaptation driving the past decade of African development. Dayo Olopade set out across sub-Saharan Africa to find out how ordinary people are dealing with the challenges they face every day. She discovered an unexpected Africa: resilient, joyful, and innovative, a continent of DIY changemakers and impassioned community leaders.
Everywhere Olopade went, she witnessed the specific creativity born from African difficultyandmdash;a trait she began calling kanju. Itandrsquo;s embodied by bootstrapping innovators like Kenneth Nnebue, who turned his low-budget, straight-to-VHS movies into a multimillion-dollar film industry known as Nollywood. Or Soyapi Mumba, who helped transform cast-off American computers into touchscreen databases that allow hospitals across Malawi to process patients in seconds. Or Ushahidi, the Kenyan technology collective that crowdsources citizen activism and disaster relief.
The Bright Continent calls for a necessary shift in our thinking about Africa. Olopade shows us that the increasingly globalized challenges Africa faces can and must be addressed with the tools Africans are already using to solve these problems themselves. Africaandrsquo;s ability to do more with lessandmdash;to transform bad government and bad aid into an opportunity to innovateandmdash;is a clear ray of hope amidst the dire headlines and a powerful model for the rest of the world.
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.
Table of Contents
The Girl Effect
Chapter One Emancipating Twenty-First-Century Slaves
Fighting Slavery from Seattle
Chapter Two Prohibition and Prostitution
Rescuing Girls Is the Easy Part
Chapter Three Learning to Speak Up
The New Abolitionists
Chapter Four Rule by Rape
Chapter Five The Shame of "Honor"
"Study Abroad"—in the Congo
Chapter Six Maternal Mortality—One Woman a Minute
A Doctor Who Treats Countries, Not Patients
Chapter Seven Why Do Women Die in Childbirth?
Chapter Eight Family Planning and the "God Gulf"
Jane Roberts and Her 34 Million Friends
Chapter Nine Is Islam Misogynistic?
The Afghan Insurgent
Chapter Ten Investing in Education
Ann and Angeline
Chapter Eleven Microcredit: The Financial Revolution
A CARE Package for Goretti
Chapter Twelve The Axis of Equality
Tears over Time Magazine
Chapter Thirteen Grassroots vs. Treetops
Girls Helping Girls
Chapter Fourteen What You Can Do
Four Steps You Can Take in the Next Ten Minutes
Appendix: Organizations Supporting Women