Eileen Souza's Reviews > Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof
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Sep 10, 09

bookshelves: girl-effect, africa, asia, north-america, south-america, middle-east
Read in September, 2009

Half the Sky was an incredible book because it captured your attention, told stories through particular people, showed that no aid is 100% successful and clearly described the challenges of giving aid - not only to show the pitfalls and issues, but to also try to avoid them. There are no Cindarella stories, and the authors take the time to show how difficult change can be for each individual and all of the social and economic impacts of making those changes. It was also willing to talk about liberal and conservatives views, how they can meet in the middle for the betterment of women worldwide, and talked about several topics which are certainly not socially acceptable to mention. One interesting topic was that research shows that money given to women is put back to the family in health, education, and savings more than aid given to men. It also talked about the concept that sweatshops are bad - but not having a sweatshop job might be even worse.

The stories and information are often difficult to understand, gruesome, and painful to read - but they are happening to people all over the globe. However this is not a book that you read and feel down-trodden about the world. It's subtley uplifting throughout and lets you know that there are ways to change the world - but that some are better than others. It was surprising in that in some situations the authors supported drastic actions, and other times really "soft" options, that may not be palatable but have still shown that they are effective for long term improvement.

One of the best parts of the book (aside from the quotes at the beginning of each chapter which were awesome) was that it gave you many different ways to help and make a difference, whether it was letter writing, sponsoring a woman, donating time to a foundation, loaning to microfinancees, etc.

The most inspirational quote in the book for me - Many starfish washed up on shore. A young boy started picking them up and throwing them back into the ocean. Someone saw what he was doing and told him that it was pointless, that there were too many to save, that it wouldn't make a difference. Throwing another starfish into the sea, the little boy responded, "It makes a difference to this one."
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Duffy (new)

Duffy Doherty I like the starfish quote. Good job!


message 2: by William (new) - added it

William Hayes You are one of many people who, in their reviews, describe this book as follows:
• inspiring or inspirational
• 4 or 5 STARS

I, too, found this book inspiring. For me, inspiration is not only a rich internal experience that we desire and enjoy for its own sake. Much more than that, inspiration is also a spur to our acting in the world in a way that helps bring about a good result.

In the final chapter of the book, the authors recommend these actions:

Four Steps You Can Take in Ten Minutes: (251-2)

1. Go to www.globalgiving.org or www.kiva.org and open an account
2. Sponsor a girl or a woman through Plan International, Women for Women International, World Vision, or American Jewish World Service.
3. Sign up for e-mail updates on www.womensenews.org and www.worldpulse.com
4. Join the CARE Action Network at www.can.care.org

I visited the Global Giving website mentioned by the authors and made a contribution to a project for educating girls in Malawi. I hope that you, too, will take one or more of the steps suggested above.



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