eBook Nicholas D. Kristof Ý Ý Half the Sky Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women

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 worldWith 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 hopeThey 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 AIDSThrough 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 povertyDeeply felt pragmatic and inspirational Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen


10 thoughts on “Half the Sky Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

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    I heard a number of people rave about this book so I was excited to read it By the time I was finished with the first two chapters I was left with an uncomfortable almost icky feeling Not from the subject matter which is disturbing but a topic I have read about extensively but from the tone of the writing I kept reading thinking it would get better But soon the book and the uncomfortable feeling became worse and I started to be able to name the source of the ickiness and my overall discomfort with the book Ethnocentrism Sexism Paternalism Lack of cohesion to the arguments So most of my review will focus on that BUT I do have to say that the subject matter the horrors of slavery and rape and the sexism and the poverty that so many people around the world suffer is something that should not be ignored I would rather have people read this book than have no information on these topics at all However I wish that people would either get their information from another source to begin with or hope that people quickly move on to reading better open and thoughtful sources on the topicsOne thing that rubbed me the wrong way about the writing and the internet now tells me that this is a common complaint about Kristof’s writing is the “othering” of the victims the painfully western perspective on all things and the paternalistic tone The victims are rarely portrayed as full human beings but objects whose story begins and ends with their suffering or perhaps extends long enough to serve as a success story for the authors or other saviors Rape victims are named pictures of women in operating rooms are shown and the privacy of these victimized women is not respected in the way that would be demanded for western subjects Most women in the book are referred to by their first name most men especially western men are referred to by their last names Yes there are exceptions but look at the chapter section on the charity work of Overlake High School a male Newsweek writer and the male school principal are referred to by their last names or full names a female student by her first name even though the full names of all three were given when introduced This might seem like a small thing but it is an easy to quantify example of the paternalistic tone the authors take with the women they write about The authors explicitly address that their writing will be anecdote driven in a section explaining sociological research that demonstrated greater action taken by people hearing personal stories than hearing statistics about an issue I will ignore the fact that this infantilizes readers ha we just need to emotionally manipulate you here rather than actually educate you and say that it is actually a good thing they mostly avoid statistics because they seem incapable of writing about numbers well In one chapter they wrote “One experimentfound that after three years family planning programs reduced the average number of births to 51 in the target area compared to 67 in the control area” Average births per WHAT? Per family? Per acre? Per woman? The reference is given in the notes but it wouldn’t have taken that much extra writing or editing to just make the sentence helpful to begin with The lack of consistency if not outright contradictions regarding real workable solutions to the multitude of problems presented in the book was especially frustrating There is constant proselytizing for education for females but then in a chapter on improving rural health care the authors write “One sensible response to the lack of doctors in rural areas is to start training programs in Africa that produce many health care professionals but in two or three year programs that don’t grant MDs that allow the graduates to find jobs abroad” So besides making extremely broad generalizations about an entire diverse continent the authors think Africans should be educated enough to help themselves but not enough to participate in the opportunities of the world? We westerners should impose limits on how high you Africans can rise but we will also look down on you for thinking your women are less deserving of opportunity than your men?The authors seem to be writing for a US audience many of the charity examples are from the US and comments are made about the need for Americans to see of the world but there is no discussion of why the US a developed non Muslim country with equal voting rights pretty good health care and education for women still has non negligible problems with human trafficking violence against women and with disparate quality in maternal health We have outlawed brothels in most states and yet there is still a problem with women and girls being forced into prostitution against their will Human trafficking in the US is a problem even if the majority of the victims come from other countries Why don’t the authors discuss this when proposing better education harsher laws against brothel owners and women speaking up as solutions? Clearly there is much depth to all of these issues than the authors are willing or able to go into I could go on and on multiple times in each chapter I have “???” in the margins beside unclear statistics sexist statements and contradictory ideas The bottom line is that this is an important book topic but it has been mangled in the execution While there are some concrete suggestions for how to move forward on these issues there are also statements such as If you're a parent take your kids not just to London but also to India or Africa or to the other side of the tracks in your own hometown Yes because everyone interested in helping others has the disposable income to travel the world and lives on the right side of the tracks I do hope that people learn about these human rights issues and I hope that readers who have been inspired by this book also read the criticism by writers like Teju Cole Elliott Prasse Freeman Sally Scholz and Laura Agustin Disclaimer I have not finished the book yet so if the last chapter has a big twist like in “Gone Girl” and all the previous chapters need to be re interpreted then obviously I have missed out Okay I finished and if anything I think even less of the book