Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2013/08/half-sky-turning-oppression-into.html
The title of this book, Half The Sky, is from a quote from Mao Tse-Tung. He said, "Women hold up half the sky." It is generally interpreted as a recognition of the power and place of women in our civilization. This book speaks about the oppression of women around the world. It does not address each and every issue of women's lives around the world. It focuses on three particular issues - prostitution and the sex trade; violence against women including rape and honor killings; and mortality in childbirth.
Turn by turn, the book addresses each issues with story upon story of the atrocities around the world. Meena who was kidnapped at age eight and sold in the sex trade. Kalma who was gang raped ten days after giving birth. Prudence who died in childbirth because of an untreated infection. And so many more.
The book also has stories of success - of women who helped themselves and those around them, of individuals who went in from the outside to help, and of organizations that work tirelessly to bring about change. Neth who was rescued from a brothel and found a life beyond. Usha Narayne who stepped forward as a leader in her home in the slums of India. Sakeena Yacoobi who runs the Afghan Institute of Learning. Ann Cotton, a Welsh woman, who founded Campaign for Female Education to help girls in Africa. And so many more.
Within the context of these stories, the book describes broader patterns and concepts. The role of religion to incorrectly justify violence. The change required in cultural paradigms. The impact of supporting grassroots movement versus outside aid.
Finally, the book issues a call of action with specific recommendations of how any person anywhere can be a part of the solution. To support the call to action, the book was made into a PBS movie and now finds its home at the following website: http://www.halftheskymovement.org.
A book full of information about a critical topic. It is not an easy book to read - with the number of stories, the amount of information, and the seriousness of the topic. I had to gradually make my way through it, but I am glad I did.
I think if I wasn't educated about the empowerment of education of women I would like the book. However, chapter 12 and the support of sweatshops as a tool for empowering women bothers me. Clearly the authors don't realize that sweatshops come in make money and then leave.
With that said, the book is good if you don't know anything about what is going on in the world concerning women. If you do know about the inequalities facing women around the world then don't bother.
A must read book! You will never be the same after reading this book. An amazing account of women of all races facing and overcoming oppression, slavery, torture and despair. If you liked "Three Cups of Tea" it takes it a step further. The authors never sugarcoat the cold reality of injustice and inequality in developing nations for many impoverished girls and women. Yet the stories of survival and of the compassion and dedication of those few individuals who have selflessly given their lives to improve such abyssmal conditions are indelible. A real eye opener on the world of poverty and human rights.
After wanting to read this book for three years, and since I have read over 55 books on human trafficking, there was sadly nothing new for me to learn in here, but I ALWAYS love to learn personal stories and accounts of people in general. It is important that we hear out people and the suffering they have endured, and this book is certainly one that covers it all, but sometimes it seemed politically preachy.
This book covers things from human trafficking, rapes, oppression and abuses of various sorts that women in more poverty stricken nations endure, micro-loans and ways that they might overcome certain issues, the way women are treated by men in many cultures in general, female genital mutilation, and more. It had good information and told of people who are helping out and who have overcome their own struggles. I give it 2.5 stars though because at times it didn't hold my attention.
In case you are wondering what "Half the sky" means, it was actually coined by Mao. . .which this book makes seem like he did a great thing for women while he oppressed and killed millions of his own people (the most bloody leader to ever live). Go figure.
Now I can also watch the documentary as well.
Incredible book. Everyone should read. It is depressing and uplifting at the same time. So many incredible women facing horrible difficulties who rise above it all and reach out to help other women and girls who face similar circumstances. So much to be done; yet so much is being done. We should all wake up to what is going on around us. Read it, act on it, and pass it on!
While there are parts of this that are very sad, this is a very inspiring and encouraging book that will (or should) move you to action. It's given me some ideas for our next social work conference . . .