A Book A Month (January): Half the Sky


This isn’t the typical book I would read for fun, but I received as a Christmas present, so I couldn’t let it sit on my shelf without reading it. It’s not a light read, but it’s something everyone should probably read.

Book info

Title: Half the Sky : Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide

Authors: Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Description: It’s at 254-page book that details the oppression that women face worldwide. It covers prostitutes, women trafficking, genital mutilation, poor education, and more depressing facts.

My opinion: This book is not for the light-hearted. It’s not something I’d pick up, unless I was in a feminist class, to read for fun. The facts and stories of women around Africa and Asia Kristof and WuDunn share are heartbreaking. Example, many middle eastern women are beaten by their husbands because they don’t obey them, they need permission to leave their homes, and other such things. For the price of a sweater in the USA, one woman in Pakistani started a successful business for $65 that changed her life. Now her husband can’t beat her because she brings in more money. This is all happening while we’re over here throwing our money away on frivolous items when we could be donating money to organizations like kiva.org.

This book while being insightful, kind of makes you hate yourself for complaining about the price of food or feeling too full. There are people, a lot of women, starving in other countries because men are valued more or they don’t have money for food. There are women being tricked into being sold to brothels. There are women dying on the outskirts of their villages because they have fistulas. It’s really sad.

The authors do a great job telling stories, but sometimes you just want them to throw in another success story to make you a little happy. I know this is all real and not enough is going on to help it, but 254 pages is quite a bit of depressing reading.

I do like how the authors propose ways to help, though. It’s nice to see that they at least push you to resources after driving all this information into your head. At one point I thought to myself “How can I get someone to cover my loans so I can go over and volunteer at one of those fistula hospitals?”

If you need a break from beach reads, pick up this book. It’s at least insightful and informs you of women’s issues around the world. It will probably make you a better person too.

If you’re not a reader, PBS also has a series based on this book.

My rating: 8/10.

Where to buy: Amazon

What are your thoughts about the book? And what should I read for February? I’m debating on Gone Girl or rereading The Great Gatsby. 


4 thoughts on “A Book A Month (January): Half the Sky

  1. Thank you for spreading the word about half the sky and the half the sky movement. This book motivated me and a friend to start a company selling items made by at risk and rescued women around the developing world.
    We are working to help them build businesses and create income for themselves. Check out our webstore: http://www.buythechangeusa.org. The documentary is also available on Netflix and iTunes.

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