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Sep/Oct - Half the Sky (2016) > Sep/Oct - Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

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message 1: by Ana (new)

Ana Francisco Lois It really was a very interesting book. Even though it's not the most enjoyable book you can find I believe it will lead to very interesting debates in the group. It was about time that we'll end up discussing feminism abroad.

message 2: by Trista (new)

Trista | 1 comments I am currently only on chapter 4, but I already feel so encouraged by these women's stories. I also as another commenter mentioned was aware of human trafficking, honor killings and other crimes against women, but did not realize the large staggering numbers of women effected. This is a book I will have my daughter read, because I think ignorance is a significant part of the problem, if you do not know the problem exist there can be no solution. I am grateful to have my eyes open so I am better equipped to help generate change.

message 3: by Tiffanie (new)

Tiffanie | 1 comments I've only just started this book, but I can already tell that it's going to be a book that will stay with me for a long time. Like others have said, the issues brought up in this book are issues that are known by many people, but this book makes things more personal by discussing these issues through the eyes of individual women and telling their specific stories. I'm so happy that this book was chosen because I think that it will make a big impact on all of the people who are reading it, myself included. I've learned so much in just the few chapters that I've read so far.

message 4: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 66 comments I read this about a year ago for an in-person book club, so I don't remember all of the details, but I do remember that it floored me. I had no idea some of the atrocities that are still being committed in the world.

Some encouragement if you're having trouble getting into it: I found the first five chapters to be very heavy and dark and depressing, and I almost wanted to give up because it was just too much to take in. I felt overwhelmed: how could I possibly make a bit of difference when there is just so much inhumanity in the world? But after that, the focus becomes more on those who ARE making a difference, and many examples of organizations and persons who are helping made me feel a little bit of relief; I can start small, with something that most draws my passion, and devote my time, money and energies to one thing, for one group, or even one person. If we all do that, the world WILL change, in time.

Hang in there, it's SO worth reading!

message 5: by Laura Laura (new)

Laura Laura (laurajayneish) | 17 comments I have almost finished and find myself thinking about it when I'm trying to sleep and then again first thing when I wake up. Very poignant. The stories are dark but need to be told and it's great reading about the successes. I've also managed to make a list of further reading so I'm looking forward to finding out more about the organisations involved.

Great choice for the book club!

message 6: by Laura Laura (new)

Laura Laura (laurajayneish) | 17 comments Meelie wrote: "I won't be able to get my mitts on the book for a couple of weeks - oh, the joys of being a student! ;) but I can't wait to start reading, sounds like it'll be an eye opener, for sure... Question, ..."

You will need tissues for a few of the stories! Some a horrific. So important to read though.

message 7: by Karina (new)

Karina Charris (kcharris) My book is on its way. I can't wait, I've read a lot of good comments on this book that I hope my expectations will be fulfilled

message 8: by Charlotte (new)

Charlotte (charlotteblampied) | 8 comments Just started reading. I'm glad this book has been recommended as I've been trying to find statistics and sources to do with feminism and women's issues. Some of them are really quite awful and the stories (only read the 1st two so far) are very harrowing. Will definitely be using the appendix for further reading!

message 9: by Felicia (new)

Felicia (feliciajoe) Karina wrote: "My book is on its way. I can't wait, I've read a lot of good comments on this book that I hope my expectations will be fulfilled"

Same here! It should be arriving in a few days.

message 10: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (bagginsindeed) | 10 comments I'm about 2/3 of the way through. It's very eye-opening and well-researched but I can't help but wish there was an edition newer than 2010! While most of the information is (discouragingly) still in date, I would be interested to read updates on current policies and organizations working on these issues almost a decade later. I know one of the links I tried to visit in the book is no longer a working page...maybe if Emma is able to interview Nick and Sheryl as she has done other writers we can get a few updates.

message 11: by Eddie (new)

Eddie Nathan | 1 comments Mini review

SPOILER free. I've included some quotes from the book but edited them so they don't give anything away.

I’m going to be honest. When i started to read Half the Sky I put the book down for a few seconds just after page 4 of chapter one because it was so horrifying. Human traffic has always been a mystery to me, why would someone pay for sex? It’s just sick and so inhuman. To me human traffic is just the as horrible as raping.

One of the lines that really struck me was the following:

“But Ainul’s brothel, like many in India, welcomed the pregnancy as a chance to breed a new generation of victims.”

I don’t know what what to say about this..It’s just so.. Sick..

Although another quote gives more light and hope

“Even if you offer me two hundred fifty thousand rupees, I will not give her up. Love has no price”

This quote gave me back some hope for humanity

As I stated in the beginning this is just a mini review. The book is quite horrifying but at the same time very well written and I think everyone needs to read it to know what’s going on around our world. No wonder it has started a global movement.

message 12: by Key (new)

Key | 15 comments I'd loove a copy! ♡

message 13: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Werner | 3 comments Eddie wrote: "Mini review

SPOILER free. I've included some quotes from the book but edited them so they don't give anything away.

I’m going to be honest. When i started to read Half the Sky I put the book do..."

Eddie, I would say that human trafficking is much, much worse than raping. Rape is unfortunately something that happens in the lives of many, if not most women. A first world ideology of Rape is a once in a lifetime occurrence, a single event, that someday the survivor can heal from. For actual survivors in the first world, Rape is a pattern of abuse, although usually from a select few individuals in their lives. In the United States we are breaking the stigma against reporting rape, and our justice system is slowly catching up.

For women and children in the brothels in India and Cambodia, referenced in the book, Rape is their whole world. Rape doesn't end. There is no time between attacks. There is no support network of any kind - they are in just as much danger from the police, and sometimes even family if they are miraculously rescued, as they are from their captors. The women must be kept in an attitude of victimization at all times, to keep them docile, and business profitable. They are alone, incredibly terrified, most can not speak the native language, and are in vast amounts of danger from beatings, and disease, and of course the rapes that they are being sold for.

I just wanted to point this out because many people here probably have a first world experience of Rape, which is traumatic and horrifying, but is also incredibly different to the conditions Meena Haisina and her children, and others have lived through.

message 14: by Laura Laura (new)

Laura Laura (laurajayneish) | 17 comments I agree it would be great to see an updated edition! Although it has been very rewarding researching a bit and finding out how things have moved on (or not!) since then.

message 15: by Jaclyn (new)

Jaclyn Lahr | 2 comments I know this is getting a little ahead of myself, but I also recommend reading A Path Appears. It's basically a follow-up to Half the Sky but with a US focus. Makes you realize the problems broached in Half the Sky are not just a 'them' problem, but an 'us' problem

message 16: by Danielle (new)

Danielle (thesparklenureyz) | 39 comments I just finished the book. It really made me want to do more to get involved. I am definitely going to do some research and finance a micro-loan. I've seen on Goodreads that a lot of people have been highly critical of the book- they didn't like the tone, or the way things were portrayed. That wasn't as much of an issue for me.

However, the one thing I did have a problem with was them recommending circumcision as a way to reduce the spread of AIDS. I hope that is a view they have changed since almost 10 year have passed since the book was written. I did extensive research on circumcision when when I was pregnant, and all of the research that I found said that health benefits for circumcision were highly exaggerated.

message 17: by Henriette (new)

Henriette Terkelsen (henrietteterkelsen) I have a hard time figuring out what I think about the book. I am moved, horrified. I cry and get stomachaches. But I'm also a bit annoyed. Maybe it the genre. Is this journalism? Is it academic? I want more references, I want to know where there numbers come from (and yes, some are cited at the end, but some are not). And I sometimes get the slightest feeling of something condescending or maybe just ethnocentric? I can't put my finger on it, it is just a weird feeling...

Anyone else who isn't just blown away?

message 18: by Natacha (new)

Natacha Moitinho (natachamoitinho) | 1 comments Some years ago I wrote a review about “Half the Sky” for a Portuguese feminist magazine called Faces de Eva (Faces of Eva). I decided to write it because this book meant a lot to me. Some years before I had done volunteer work in India in the area of women´s empowerment. One of the things I realized is that in India there is a vicious cycle of violence against women, from their birth till their death. Infanticide, dowry related deaths (mainly kitchen “accidents”), widows abandoned by their families in holy cities having no other option except to beg, and so on. Despite the daily violence and discrimination I was surprised with one thing: their smile, the “stoic docility” the authors talk about.

My time in India made me understand how violence against women can have so many different forms and I wanted to know more about it, so today I hold a Master´s Degree in Women´s Studies. As the authors say, in the West discrimination is generally related to unequal payment, sports team being underfinanced, harassment at work (and I would also include domestic violence). However discrimination is fatal in many other parts of the world.

By reading “Half the Sky” we get to know from sexual traffic in Thailand to prostitution in India, from rape as a weapon of war in Congo to honor crimes in Pakistan, from female genital mutilation in Senegal to maternity mortality in Niger. Despite all the sad and disturbing stories the authors have a message of hope: more than a tragedy the problem women face can be an opportunity.

Education and microcredit are two fundamental strategies for a more equal world, according to the authors. Actually, when women are given the opportunity to earn money (and manage it) there is a greater chance for it to be spent on food, medication, other household expenses (men tend to spend the money on alcohol and cigarettes) and their children are healthier. So who could be the most effective agents of change in a community? Local women.

“Half the Sky” is a book with disturbing, fascinating and inspiring stories of women, and also men (yes, my time in India made me understand that we need men´s involvement if we want to achieve gender equality), who believed change was possible despite all the adversities they had (and probably still have) to face. And it is.

message 19: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments Where to start with this book,

Well it is well written and edited which seems trivial given the subject matter but still it is important to communicate such emotive information correctly, if only has a mark of due respect to for the courage of the women speaking, and what they have suffered.. That leads to the anger and revulsion which would not serve at the moment, but I shall retain it near by in any case.

The focus must start with the latter part of the book deal with what we can do. Well in general we should look to the west we still have reports of sexual assault on university campuses in the US and UK. Why do we have the excuse of culture or history again discussion for other threads but worth keeping in mind when we read of these things in other lands.

The main point for me was and I am over simplifying to keep this review to a manageable size is women helping women. I see this as key because men are the cause. Those of us who wish to help can best do so be subjugating the ego that is at the hart of this. So many of the stories told stemmed from men dealing with there problems by harming women either directly or by turning them into resources. We must offer support but any initiatives have to be implemented and managed visibly by women.

In essences this is a positive book solutions have been outlined both in book and by Emma’ support for education programs contained like www.girlslearniniternational.org These when combined with the social economic shifts such as “the girl effect” and “the double X solution” (terms invented by men I suspect) do offer options at least. It seems that economics, money basically is a key factor both in the problem and the solution.

For my part I shall start by giving my copy to someone else on the board (free of charge) as I do for all the OSS selections and encourage others to do the same. We have to get the message out there again and again for as long as it takes to change things so that such messages are only seen in books.

message 20: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Werner | 3 comments Having just finished the book, I really appreciated hearing the individual stories of women faced with every kind of discrimination and violence. Every woman, no matter how great or small a "success" in terms of empowerment was a heroine, just for surviving the adversity thrown in her face.
Unfortunately a lot of the book was devoted to coddling the Western reader. Every impoverished woman's dream and goal, obviously should be bankrolled by upper and middle class Westerners. Their insistence that the feeling of helping the needy is just as important as or more important than the quantity and quality of help provided is insulting. I know that they are trying to sell a product (who wants to read a book about human trafficking that doesn't have a positive spin?) and trying to make foreign aid donation and volunteerism accessible, but their story quickly became centered on the "good works" and "generous spirit" of wealthy foreigners.
As someone who has known poverty, abuse, rape, and prostitution (albeit in West), the “rescuing” approach is truly insulting. No woman who is desperate, and alone, wants to then have to feel indebted to live by the values of her rescuer.

message 21: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments Sophie wrote: "indebted to live by the values of her rescue

I cannot speak to the suffering you endured. But it seems to me that any initiative however imperfect is doing something to help. There is inevitability going to be some impact from the providers values we are all motivated by something after all. The reality is commercial based options are the most effective.

All we can do is our best and not give up I do hope you find something that works better for you.

message 22: by Mahima (new)

Mahima Pradhan This book pulled me out of my comfort zone (which is basically just fiction) and threw me into reality. A lot of my friends developed an opinion that this is a fact book only after reading the first few pages. If anyone here thinks so too, I would recommend going beyond the first few pages to actually know how privileged we are to have such luxuries.

message 23: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Werner | 3 comments Ross wrote: "Sophie wrote: "indebted to live by the values of her rescue

I cannot speak to the suffering you endured. But it seems to me that any initiative however imperfect is doing something to help. There ..."

I would argue that unsuccessful rescue attempts are more damaging to these women mentally than being left to their own devices. Kristof and Wudunn write "A week later, an excruciating email arrived from Lor Chandara, our interpreter: Very bad, bad news. Srey Momm has voluntarily gone back to the Poipet brothel". The first time a prostitute voluntarily goes back to their pimp or brothel, they learn that they are more trapped that they ever imagined. Perhaps they do it out of fear, or because of a mental illness, like addiction, but they lose confidence in themselves, and begin to blame themselves for their situation, rather than their abuser. Each time these women are "rescued", their chances of escaping their abuser diminish.

As long as rescuer only want to treat STDs and beating wounds, and not addiction, depression, PTSD, and a cadre of other illnesses that arise out of a lifestyle of abuse, they are going to fail. These women have been told that everything bad in the world is their fault - and eventually they will believe it, and think they the abuse they are suffering is what they deserve. The more the pattern repeats itself, the more inescapable their situation seems.

Rescuers embody everything good... charity, selflessness, compassion, the list goes on. Failing them, above failing oneself, seems second only to failing God.

message 24: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments I am not religious Sophie so again I can't comment there. But what are the alternatives only way to avoid failure is to do nothing. We can all only do our best we know how to do.

The programs in the book are from my reading the best attempts to produce self finding methods to improve things. Are there modifications required form what you have said and what I have looked into myself; yes, aren't there always, but most should not I think be abandoned just yet.

message 25: by Bookshelf (new)

Bookshelf Sophie wrote: "No woman who is desperate, and alone, wants to then have to feel indebted to live by the values of her rescuer."

I believe Kristoff and WuDunn addressed this more than once when pointing out the necessity for Western aid and organizations to play a secondary, supporting role to local organizations.

It’s an important point to be made. Westerners don’t know what’s best for others, simply because we are Westerners. That type of thinking smacks of Colonialism.

I feel the authors continually appeal to and for readers/donors/activists/volunteers in the west for a couple of reasons. First of all, they are American. They are coming from a place of Western background and culture, of a Western perspective. I think another reason, and perhaps the biggest one, is they know there is money to be donated in the west. Unlike in parts of Asia and Africa, western cultures do consider women worth donating money for, if not necessarily a priority.

They also come right out and state they want more western involvement because we in the developed world tend to be so far removed from the horrors that befall many women on a daily basis.

message 26: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 66 comments Amy wrote: "I believe Kristoff and WuDunn addressed this more than once when pointing out the necessity for Western aid and organizations to play a secondary, supporting role to local organizations.

It’s an important point to be made. Westerners don’t know what’s best for others, simply because we are Westerners."

This is the primary thing that I took away from this book, as well. The typical Western response is to want to dig right in and "fix" things our way, and it can be much more difficult to just be supportive--whether financially or otherwise--of efforts by someone else who truly understands the core issues better than we do. So many of the clashes in the world come from a lack of understanding of one another's cultural perspectives, so to try to assist in these groups who are trying to help themselves is extremely important, because they understand the mindset of those they are trying to help.

message 27: by Astrid (new)

Astrid (astridaster) This is a book that puts facts and numbers precising a very old unease of mine concerning the relationship of sexes in this strange world and species called humans.
Indeed this is interesting, and the examples of women who finally begann helping themselves and others are encouraging. I can't find this book black or depressing, by the way. I mean: Look around just your own place: No violence against women, no sexual abuse, no injustice? Enough I think to ask some very urgent questions, like: How can it be that the relationship between sexes is so deeply spoiled in most cultures?
Perhaps I stopped already twice reading the book because it does'nt ask this kind of questions. In a way I find it superficial. It describes the horrors and then ways to improve. It is very much centered in urgent action. Which of course is very honorable.
What disturbs me also is that the authors make all the description and reflection. Mukhtar Mai for example wrote a book herself, which is very strong and beautiful. But maybe it wasn't out yet when the last edition was printed.
Then the mentioned literature is mostly from North-Western University people. Literature mentioned about women's issues in the islamic World are comlpetely outdated, but maybe this is a language Problem, as a lot of it is available in French more than in English.
Overall I think it is the very pedagogical tone, that is disturbing me most. It seems very american to me! Very pragmatical in a way but also kind of patronizing.
I think I will slowly go in reading the chapters that seem most interesting to me. But overall I prefer to hear and read from the persons concerned what they do, live and feel.

message 28: by Luella (last edited Sep 19, 2016 03:47PM) (new)

Luella | 18 comments So far in reading this book I am reminded of two books one of which is Luckiest Girl Alive the other is Uncle Tom's Cabin.

I know that in Luckiest Girl Alive the girl went to a party and didn't tell her parents etc. The book was selected by a goodreads group I participate in. It was the opinion of many that due to the circumstances that lead to the rape the girl deserved it and she should have known better even though she was a young teenager. She must internalized this attitude as well as she felt forced to acquiesce and even apologize to her rapists, she didn't get any counseling either. People said this even after the author admitted that this had actually happened to her.

I guess that's why it reminds me of this. Many girls in these tales are teenagers who are told by someone that the can get a job in another country and make money sometimes the girls are told they will be doing jobs in these towns that are known epi-centers of prostitution. The girls go along, they are sold into brothels and forced into serving customers at here. These girls often internalize the attitude that they are now ruined and sometimes go back to the brothels even after they are rescued.

Are these two situations really that different? Both girls go into situations that would appear to us as risky. Sometimes the girls even know the situation is risky but they go anyway and something bad happens to them. Does that mean they deserved what followed?

The other book that that this one reminds me of is Uncle Tom's Cabin about which I said this :

This is really interesting (and also somewhat horrifying) but I'm not a fan of the writing. It seems it was written for people who need more "qualifiers" than I do. It knocks you over the head with things that should be obvious like its comparisons to slavery. It's writing is somewhat reminding me a bit of Uncle Tom's Cabin for some reason...probably because a lot of the same things were done there. Teaching people things that should have been plain as day.

I'm about a third of the way through at this point.

message 29: by Luella (new)

Luella | 18 comments Astrid wrote: "This is a book that puts facts and numbers precising a very old unease of mine concerning the relationship of sexes in this strange world and species called humans.
Indeed this is interesting, and..."

I agree with you on this. I think that's why it reminds me so much of Uncle Tom's Cabin

message 30: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments I see a lot of comparisons on the books structure and delivery of the message interesting even if I do not agree. But for me the message of the book is more important than the messenger.

Offering some options to deal with the very real problems of women across the world. I am drawn to the similarities in there plight that suggests that there are common causes and therefore common solutions.

The authors suggest financial based solutions rather than cultural perhaps simply because they are the most pragmatic. For me this is important as helping the women even in small numbers to start with is the priority.

message 31: by Sandy Bergeson (new)

Sandy Bergeson Jessica wrote: "I'm about 2/3 of the way through. It's very eye-opening and well-researched but I can't help but wish there was an edition newer than 2010! While most of the information is (discouragingly) still i..."
I was thinking the same thing.

message 32: by Sandy Bergeson (new)

Sandy Bergeson I am only through about 1/3 of the book and it is both enlightening and overwhelming and so tragic. It is also a good look at some of the ways in which people are trying to change this travesty of human rights. And oh my the strength of some of these women...I am humbled by it.
But what I found equally compelling was the lack of attention and/or discussion of the role that men play in this picture... the fact that there would be no need for this slavery and bondage were there not so many men in the world who want to have sex with children. If there were no demand there would be no need of supply.
If the book touches on this later, then I apologize. But as of now, I see no real mention of the need to change men or empower men or cure men or fix men. The women are forced. The men are there by choice.

message 33: by Ana (new)

Ana A | 6 comments Sandy, I don't think it is a matter of fixing mer or women. it is about fixing a society. The book focus on women helping other women overcome an experience they are familiar with and in some cases some men do appear in the stories. I am like half way through the book... But I think here the point is that women are usually undereducated compared to men.
I am from Mexico, where the male role is very strong when we talk about society but when we see inside the families, most of the times it is the mother who takes decisions, she is who raises kids, who gives the advises and yes, many times those go against her own gender or towards inequality.

Usually women spend so much time with children that the ideas she has are the ones that are going to be set in the children's minds.

If the woman respects her self most likely will make other people respect her, stronger if it is the entire women community.

message 34: by Sandy Bergeson (new)

Sandy Bergeson Yes, I absolutely understand all of that. But within the patriarchal societies is the acceptance that "Boys will be boys" and consequently "men will be men" and that going to a prostitute (even a child prostitute) is a "rite of passage". Many men will take their sons to the brothel as a birthday gift. All of the education of girls in the world will not help is the girl is kidnapped. So yes, I absolutely agree with everything you said but I think this part of the r=equation must also be addressed as part of the big picture.

message 35: by Alana (new)

Alana (alanasbooks) | 66 comments I agree with both points: yes, we have to change society as a whole, of course, but yes, it's also important not to just laugh off those "boys will be boys" moments and instead see them for what they really are: boys being patted on the head in amusement for being childish, and taught that that is the way they are expected to be. Society teaches men that they are supposed to be childish and not grow up, including in their sexuality and exploitation of others. Yes, there are definitely some gems out there, but as a whole, we as a society seem to celebrate "boys being boys" instead of seeing the mentality that boys learn from their lack of consequences.

message 36: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments Alana wrote: "seem to celebrate "boys being boys""

This is at the hart of the matter. Only yesterdays a male columnist for a UK Newspaper, using the term loosely, criticized in the basest terms Emma's UN speech. That in itself is a another conversation. The point is peoples reaction that this was just a boy being a boy.

Also there is another columnist (I am not naming them deliberately) a woman said something similar about Brad pit and his troubles.

The reaction was very different personal and attacking. Now whatever you think about the celebrity aspect. Why were these two odious people treated so differently.

message 37: by MacKenzie (new)

MacKenzie Hamon | 5 comments As soon as I finished the book I thought about the strength in numbers we have in this book club alone, and what a difference we could make fighting for women around the world if we decided to. I know we can all make a difference in our own way but if there's a chance to collectively help I imagine we could utilize this club and it's members beyond Goodreads and do incredible things.

message 38: by Hali (new)

Hali (dreamslikediamondss) | 12 comments I just posted my review (on my profile) but just wanted to say here how I feel now that I've finished the book. I couldn't put it down. It was just so shocking but enlightening. I was appalled by some of the atrocities I read about but then so very inspired by how these women were able to turn their lives around. I think this one might just be my favourite one so far! :)

message 39: by Clare (new)

Clare | 2 comments I just finished this book yesterday. I really enjoyed this book. I liked that they talked about the people on the ground, or already in these areas working for justice. I liked the comments about how the grassroots efforts were the most successful, because they involved the community.

message 40: by Monica (new)

Monica | 1 comments I am only through Chapter 5 at this point, and I already know I have learned so much. I take notes while I read, and I feel like almost every sentence is underlined. I was aware of some of these issues to a degree, but I am shocked at how prevalent they are in so many areas. I have enjoyed the stories of local women standing up for themselves - it is a light in all this darkness.

message 41: by Sheri (new)

Sheri | 2 comments I'm almost done with the book, it's been really slow going for me. The information is great, but it's not the kind of reading I really want to do first thing in the morning, over meals, or before bed. And those are my primary reading times.

Is anyone else bothered by how often the physical appearance is referenced by the author? Seems like every story involves "a beautiful girl". Maybe he's just the type that thinks all women are beautiful, but I found if kind of off putting after a while. It makes it sound like they're only going out there and helping the pretty girls, or that only pretty girls are worthy of help. I'm sure that's not what the goal was, but that's how it started feeling.

message 42: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Miller (rosethorn7) | 123 comments The stories in this book are so sad, yet powerful. Before reading this book, I was not completely aware that sex trafficking was so bad in other areas of the world. This book should open the eyes of all readers.

message 43: by Kathrin (new)

Kathrin | 25 comments This is probably the most important book I've ever read. Thank you so much, Emma!

message 44: by Susan (new)

Susan H | 10 comments This is a really important book, powerfully written. I am learning a lot from the book, and I am grateful. However, I am very regretful but I do not think I can continue reading it. I know that human beings can be incredibly brutal to other human beings (and animals) but the stories of cruelty so graphically described in this book are impacting my mental health. I have been triggered. I can't afford the sleepless nights and emotional fragility that comes with reading these stories. I wish there was a way to get the information in a more matter of fact way.

message 45: by Felicia (new)

Felicia (feliciajoe) Susan wrote: "This is a really important book, powerfully written. I am learning a lot from the book, and I am grateful. However, I am very regretful but I do not think I can continue reading it. I know that hum..."

You need to take care of yourself. (: I know there's a website. Maybe that has more fact-information?

message 46: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments Susan:

The last chapter focuses on what is being done to help elevate the problems if you want to read that there is no harrowing descriptions and it is life affirming. At least it was for me.

message 47: by Diana (new)

Diana (secondhandrose) I just finished the book and hope to read some more up to date information as well. I've had Microfinance loan account at Kiva for a few years now and while not exclusively, have leant towards loans to women. I haven't made any loans in awhile so this book has sent me back there.

message 48: by Tara (new)

Tara Corallino | 5 comments Jaclyn wrote: "I know this is getting a little ahead of myself, but I also recommend reading A Path Appears. It's basically a follow-up to Half the Sky but with a US focus. Makes you realize the problems broached..."

Thanks for the recommendation- I liked that they briefly touched on the US to show we have problems as well, but found myself wanting to dive a bit deeper.

message 49: by Tara (new)

Tara Corallino | 5 comments I've been reading books in this online club for several months now. While I have enjoyed some of the lighter ones that still hit on the challenges women face, this was such an amazing choice for this group to read. It's easy to look at the rhetoric around women in the US and think how bad it is here, but this book helps to give you great perspective on what others are facing. And I love that it reinforces that we all have to work together (right/left, men/women, Christians/Muslims) in order to actually make lasting changes. It sure would be nice if we could finally get there one of these days. Sometimes it feels like we're slipping backward more than moving forward.

Looking forward to spending a day off today further exploring the volunteer and aid organizations called out in the book so that my family can help further.

message 50: by Clare (new)

Clare | 2 comments Let Girls Learn has been launched by the President and First Lady.

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