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Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide Hardcover – Deckle Edge, September 8, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. 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.)
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From Bookmarks Magazine
Critics, universally inspired by Half the Sky, used their reviews as an opportunity to take up its message. They praised not only Kristof and WuDunn's clear moral stance and explanation of the issues but also the way they combined individual women's stories and practical advice to give the book an optimistic tone. Reviewers pointed out some flaws, particularly the authors' focus on individual action (such as providing a list of hospitals and schools to direct charity to) while neglecting to criticize the policies of Western governments. As more than one reviewer pointed out, Saudi Arabia, a country with one of the worst records of oppressing women, is a U.S. ally. Nevertheless, critics encouraged readers to pick up Half the Sky, which, according to the Seattle Times, "will ignite a grass-roots revolution like the one that eliminated slavery."
Top customer reviews
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Reading Half the Sky is a harrowing undertaking. Often I was outraged and angry in reading this book. I wept often at the grief and pain of the plight of girls and women on the planet. I feel deeply disappointed with the inexcusable and untenable actions of we humans perpetrate on one another. These actions are juxtaposed - antithetical to - the unutterable and profound beauty of Life herself. The discomfort notwithstanding, all of us are well served to be pained deeply at the indignities girls and women live with. We need to be roused from our ostensible comfort - to have our worldview shattered. To be rousted into the rigorous self-discipline of "SEEING" girls and women. Of letting go of our subtle and not-so-subtle subjugation of them.
To me, there is no issue of greater importance than making place for the honoring of girls and women; of freeing girls and women from the inexcusable crimes against humanity perpetrated against them in all moments of their lives! All other crises are of lesser import. The path out of contemporary perils begins by giving place to the feminine, to her wisdom, voice, her brilliance, her creativity, her promise, her dignity, innocence and spiritual beauty.
Our world needs appropriate countervailing forces to those of misogyny and patriarchy. This book educates us some of the issues and some of the necessary steps onward. It appropriately pushes back.
Bravo! Well done in insinuating the promise of your work into the record, and for your stellar contribution toward the tipping point toward a more life-affirming humanity.
Wouldn't it be grand were this book required reading in every secondary school? Every associate degree, trade, undergraduate, graduate, and professional school? A prerequisite for all employment - self or other. For every elected and appointed public or political office? Repeated exposure to this book and it's worldview until our thinking and actions were honoring, welcoming, supportive and responsive - positively - to the lives of girls and women.
I am heartened and changed by my reading of this book - Half the Sky.
Human mind is programmed like a software, they programmers are our environment, people we interact with. To improve is to upgrade this software and that is by education.
Half the Sky deals with many human rights issues which effect the health, life and welfare of women worldwide, from human trafficking to FGM, to fistulas, to rape, to education and neglect of female children's health. While the truth of the situation presented by Kristof and WuDunn is beyond bleak, we are also presented with success stories and introduced to warriors for causes that cause us to hope that life doesn't have to be so precarious for women and change can be implemented in which women and girls can lift their lives out of despair.
I was impressed watching the PBS broadcast to see the way Nicholas Kristof works. He asks difficult and pointed questions to gather the information he needs to get a picture of what is happening both in the lives of the individual women and the situation they find themselves in. Kristof also takes careful notes and this adds authenticity to what is written in the book.
This is an important work which has brought to light the horror of the condition in which many women and children live throughout the world. And as important it offers a message of hope which has galvanized people to act in ways which will impact their lives for the better.
I am glad that I read this an encourage others to do so as well .
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