Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
It took me a long time to pick up this book. For various reasons and the usual excuses, including one that I’m a little ashamed to admit: I thought I knew what they were going to say. I read about, talked about, took university courses about, and watched films about women in society, women’s struggles, women and media, women’s rights, women’s empowerment and specific women’s stories. I just didn’t know if they could teach me anything and I didn’t know if I had it in me to read more sad accounts of the brutality women are subjected to the world over.
Man was I way off base. This book is uplifting and heartfelt and honest. They call out men and women both as responsible for the current situation of women around the globe and more importantly, for the responsibility to advocate real change. The authors, a husband and wife team, offer up their own experiences in various cultures and situations alongside their experiences of change and practical advice on what we can each do. There is no preaching – a rare find, in my opinion (and I don’t even mind a bit of preaching if it’s on the subject of women’s rights).
They combine a lot of anecdotal evidence with some statistical evidence to back it up. I think skeptic or not, there’s enough meat here to give you pause for thought. The book is well written and reads much like a novel, albeit a brutally harsh one at times. But it’s harsh with necessity and passion, not for the sake of being so. I don’t see how you could read this book and not walk away with a better understanding of the situation women and girls are facing in the world right now. I would even be surprised if you didn’t feel compelled to some action, big or small.
They offer up a ton of resources and trusted organizations throughout and at the end of the book. Their website does the same. But don’t ignore the book. Male or female, read this book. It won’t take long and what you gain will be so valuable.