Thursday, May 20, 2010

Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (Book Review)

I rarely say this about any book, and think I've only done it once before, for Night by Elie Wiesel, but Half the Sky is one of those books that everyone should read.

It's both an unflinching and brave piece of journalism that reveals the widespread plight of women in the developing world (even in this day and age), and a clear call for change through awareness and action.

The authors present their case by focusing on some of the major problems facing millions of women worldwide, including sex trafficking, sexual violence and rape, and maternal mortality. Then, they look at the solutions that are having the greatest positive impact, especially girls education, access to healthcare, and microfinance.

There's a lot to take away from Half the Sky, but perhaps the most memorable point is how uplifting and educating women in countries where they have been traditionally held down can begin to transform the country's entire society -- economically, socially, and even politically. The best proofs of this come from East Asia, which has prospered in recent decades by educating females and incorporating them in the workforce in ways that haven't been present in other parts of the developing world.

The book concludes by providing additional information for learning more and helping.

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