This week at GlobalGiving many of us are reading the new book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Pulitzer- Prize winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
While exposing the horrors women in the developing world face on a daily basis—gender-based violence like honor killings and genital mutilation, the sex trade, and high rates of easily preventable maternal mortality—the book also shows how changing the circumstances of just one woman can have a powerful ripple effect on her family and the community at-large. Through the work of our GlobalGiving project leaders, we’re lucky enough to see the effects of empowering disadvantaged women first hand.
Consider this update posted earlier this year from a women’s collective in Bihar, India who is looking to raise funds to help support their sewing centers that provide a community space and help women learn a valuable trade: “I was married two years ago and I am lucky because my husband is kind to me and gives me permission to go to the market and sewing centre. But some other members are not so lucky, but under pressure from all of us we get their husbands not to object to their wives coming to the centre. Here we are learning a useful skill but this is the only place we can meet as women in friendship and in mutual support. We are now stopping drunken behavior from the men, we have patrolled the village with 35 of us forcing the local drinking shop to close, now drunken beatings are a thing of the past and our village is more peaceful and we feel more secure.”
We’re so pleased that Kristof and WuDunn have brought this important issue to the forefront, and are humbled to be included in the book under “Four Steps You Can Take in the Next Ten Minutes.” Right now we’re featuring a great promotion; donate $100 to any GlobalGiving project and receive a copy of Half the Sky for free. Check out our Half the Sky page for some pre-selected projects that relate to the book.
If you’ve already had a chance to read the book, please share your thoughts! What story did you find the most compelling? Where do you think change needs to happen most urgently, and through what means?