Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book Review: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunities for Women Worldwide

This book should be required reading for all high schools, church groups, community organizations, basically everyone.  It's an incredibly touching account from journalists Nicholos Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn of the oppression women are experiencing around the world in the forms of sex slavery, female genital mutilation, the use of rape as a weapon of war, the murder of women as a form of population control or political gain, and the proliferation of AIDS.  They have travelled around the world and liberated women from these situations.  The real beauty of the book is that the authors not only present the humanitarian issues facing women in the developing world, but they also present solutions on international, national, corporate, and personal levels.

Excellent reporting, professional journalism, and detailed research.  Absolutely no complaints.

Entertainment Value
The personal stories from women around the world are touching as are the authors' descriptions of the situations and threats women are facing in the developing world.  The solutions to these problems are inspiring and motivating.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  Like I said in my introduction, this book should be required reading for high school/college students.

One aspect I particularly appreciated was the balanced viewpoint of the authors.  There is a chapter on religion that I was nervous to read.  And the authors do criticize the role that some religions (fundamental Christianity and Islam) play in the oppression of women, particularly in developing countries.  However, the authors present solutions that don't reject Muslim or Christian beliefs, but integrate them into a healthy view of women.  They also advocate not for a-religious aid but for a nonpartisan, inter-religion effort that puts the welfare of women before either a liberal or conservative religious or political agenda.  Also, the authors recognize the impact of Christian missions worldwide, which means so much to me as the daughter of Christian missionaries.  I feel like the secular media frequently ignores the positive contributions of Christian (Protestant and Catholic) missions, but these authors acknowledge their positive impact. 

Please give the book a try - it may very well change your life.  Also, check out a new website I found yesterday while I was browsing the internet.  The site ( contains an application that allows you to answer questions about the products you consume and then gives you an estimate of the number of slaves who work for you worldwide (according to my consumption habits, I have 27 slaves working for me).  It also pinpoints where slaves who produce the products you consume may be located and provides information about what products may be produced by slaves.

1 comment:

  1. This book has been on my TBR for a long time. I really need to get to it!