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Teach a Woman to Fish: Overcoming Poverty Around the Globe Hardcover – June 10, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Sharma's experiences not only support the idea that "when you teach a woman to fish, everyone eats," but also serve as an aggressive call to action for anyone who cares about ending global poverty. (Kirkus Reviews)

Sure to appeal to activists, the book offers an on-the-ground account of one organization's efforts and its strategies for instituting change. (Publisher's Weekly)

Ritu Sharma delivers inspiring stories of women and men who are overcoming great obstacles to improve the lives of girls and women under dire circumstances. She also provides insights into how we in America can help individually and through our government's aid programs. Every citizen and lawmaker should read this book. (Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States, and founder of The Carter Center)

In Teach a Woman to Fish, Ritu Sharma shows us what unites women around the world: devotion to their families, pride in their children, and a willingness to sacrifice for a better future. Using highly accessible prose, she helps make the sometimes abstract concept of women's empowerment concrete, showing how no matter where they live, women's hard work is absolutely essential to building thriving communities (Melinda Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

Ritu Sharma has a singular commitment to the rights of women and girls, a unique understanding of what it takes to make a difference, and an uncanny ability to combine the two. (Eve Ensler, Playwright and Activist)

Ritu Sharma paints a remarkably personal and poignant portrait of both the enormous challenges and the boundless resiliency of women living in some of the world's poorest regions. Most importantly, she provides keen insights into the circumstances that work against them, and offers an array of concrete steps based on the depth of her experience that can change lives and further empower these extraordinary women. (Former U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe, Senior Fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center)

Ritu Sharma is a passionate leader for women and girls around the world. With her profound understanding and compassion, she gives voice to their inspirational stories of hopes, dreams and challenges that will continue to echo in our hearts. (Maria Bello, actor and activist)

With a storyteller's eye and an advocate's passion, Ritu Sharma takes us on a personal journey that lays bare the simple injustices that rob women of their rights and dignity while offering a contrasting vision of aid interventions and policy reforms that unlock their potential for leadership and liberation. (Raymond Offenheiser, President, Oxfam America)

In Teach a Woman to Fish, Women Thrive Worldwide President Ritu Sharma illuminates an elementary truth too often overlooked by policy makers and development practitioners: throughout the world, a woman carries burdens that are not shared by her brothers. Drawing on her experiences working with US political institutions, global development agencies, and with women on the ground, she concludes, convincingly, that women's empowerment is both a fundamental driver and purpose of development. (Oxfam's Politics of Poverty blog)

About the Author

Ritu Sharma is a leading voice on international women's issues and US foreign policy. She is co-founder of Women Thrive Worldwide, a non-profit that places the concerns of women and girls living in poverty at the forefront of US international assistance. She lives in Annapolis, Maryland.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade (June 10, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1137278587
  • ISBN-13: 978-1137278586
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #569,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Story Circle Book Reviews on September 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Ritu Sharma, co-founder of Women Thrive, has written a stunning account of her travels through Sri Lanka, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Burkina Faso--countries where her organization has worked with grassroots women's groups regarding poverty issues. Sharma's narrative includes a powerful collection of stories about the women from these four countries who have been learning how to overcome the forces of poverty. She also takes readers "one step further than other books that have popularized global poverty issues" by raising awareness "to the broader systems that prevent women from leaving poverty behind."

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, "women reinvest about 90 percent of their income in their children rather than in themselves..." That being said, Sharma's underlying mantra throughout her narrative holds true: "When you teach a woman to fish, everyone eats. Development aid projects that overlook women miss their best opportunity to end the cycle of poverty."

Sharma first takes readers into Sri Lanka a year after the 2004 tsunami devastation. The information she shares is heartbreaking, since the majority of those who died as a result of the tsunami were women and children. Empowering Sri Lankan women and girls to move on is a daunting task because of the many forces that keep them impoverished, such as a dictatorial government system and a society that is ruled by men. In order for them to survive it is imperative for mothers to work from home. Girls either enter the exported labor force working as maids in the Middle East, or live in deplorable conditions so they can work in Export Processing Zone factories.

Next on Sharma's journey are the countries of Honduras and Nicaragua.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kittykt1128 on November 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Comments on Teach a Woman to Fish by Ritu Sharma. This author is to be admired and praised for her dedicated efforts to deal with poverty among women, particularly in developing countries. The reader learns about an amazing number of women’s groups, already organized but lacking the sophistication to qualify for funding they desperately need. She has suggestions for ways the US and European countries could help but are not doing so. Ritu’s relationships with the women her organization, Women Thrive, works with are heartwarming and encouraging. We need a whole army of Ritus to push for a deeper awareness of women in poverty. I am blessed to have read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CollegeStealth on December 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a good book and I had to read it for a class and am debating whether or not to assign it for my own high school students. It does give a narrative of women and attempts at providing aid, but it seems to dance around a bit and does not do a good job of drilling down. It focuses a lot more on the macro issue, such as aid, with only a bit of skimming of micro issues. I want to compare this book to "Half the Sky" and in that case, it has some of the same themes, but nowhere near the amount of personal narrative and sheer information that comes from "Half the Sky."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Magner on August 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Amazing. As I'm reading this, I'm learning so much, and I want to join Ritu in helping the women of the world become secure and make the choices that are right for their families. Such a great book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What is the best way to lift communities in developing countries out of poverty? This book is much more than just another story of an American working within a non-profit organization. What sets this book apart is the focus on empowering women to make their voices heard. Much of the book tells stories of women from Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, Honduras and Burkina Faso who work tirelessly to feed their families, provide education for their children and speak out for the rights of women. Equally inspiring is the work of the author to link US foreign aid to gender issues around the world. This book makes a compelling case for the United States to take a renewed interest in using diplomatic strategies and international aid to break the cycle of poverty through the empowerment of women. The author also offers very practical tips for US citizens to make their voices heard on this issue. Highly recommended for everyone concerned about world-wide poverty and gender issues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By NANCY G.HAUGHEY on November 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Thought provoking. Also should be action provoking. Let's buy fair trade and
Push our government to increase action and aid.
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Ritu Sharma has the rare gift of being able to tell her story in an engaging manner and at the same time serve her cause in a forceful and effective manner. Teach a Woman reveals all the hurdles of women worldwide without preaching. There is no guilt button.She simply gives us beautifully written stories of real people, men as well as women, striving to achieve what we all must achieve at some point, (of course, this statement reveals me as a believer in endless opportunities to learn) that man and woman are equal. That man often is physically able to overpower woman, and frequently uses this ability to take out his frustration at his own seeming ability to achieve, is not the measure of equality, and Sharma makes this truth poignantly visible.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this day and age where stories about oppressed women fill the news, it is so refreshing to read this book which not only details the nature and cause of some of that oppression, but also provides heart-warming and uplifting stories about empowered women across the globe who are doing their part to make their communities better not just for their own families, but for the young women who will follow their example. While tangible solutions are offered, so is an explanation for why the issue is so complicated. It is a thought-provoking read. If there is an activist lurking in you, you will really enjoy this book.
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