Women should read Half the Sky. (Men should too.) I don’t normally read non-fiction. This title was on a recommended reading list of my college-aged daughter. (Her degree is International Policy.) It intrigued me just reading the synopsis and to think these stories are REAL. Heart breaking, horrifying, intense and true life…
This book tackles the atrocities that women in developing countries face on the daily. Did you know the sex trade/trafficking of young women is a bigger problem today than the slave trade was of the nineteenth century? Did you know the mortality rate for young girls is significantly lower in developing countries? One’s got to stop and ask why don’t girls get taken to the hospital when they are sick? Why they don’t get immunized like their male siblings? Why is it rape victims in developing countries endure the wrath of their president, abductions from the government and dehumanization tactics? Again, this is not fiction, this is real life for many women all over the world.
More horrors for women of the world are prostitution, obstetric fistulas, genital mutilation, acid attacks and no means for fixing what gets broken, physically, mentally or psychologically. The sad truth in many of these places is laws ring hollow if they are not enforced. Traditions, rituals and customs are difficult if not impossible to change.
The second part of this book tackles the difficulty of just that; change. I’ve always been one of those people who want to save the world. This book poignantly points out, sometimes the world doesn’t want to be saved. In Half the Sky, the husband/wife authors describe their own attempts to buy prostitutes out of slavery, and the social conditions that make restoring these women to a normal life so difficult. Beyond that, they delve into the inadequacies of laws and who are (or aren’t) enforcing them.
When you get down to the root of the problem, it’s the invisibility of the oppression. The answer is to expose and educate those that are hidden and ignorant. These stories are more powerful than statistics, they bring to light what is happening to the women of these developing countries and what can be done about it. (donate here) Kristof and WuDunn make the moral arguments these ladies can’t, they speak truths that are hard to hear and almost impossible to believe. This is the start of making real change, real growth and real progress.