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Half the Sky - Initial Reactions

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message 1: by Sarah (last edited Mar 01, 2012 07:18AM) (new)

Sarah MacDonald (smoulove) | 14 comments Mod
What are your initial reactions? What has surprised you so far? What do you want to know more about?

message 2: by Nikki (new)

Nikki (BigSisterNikki) | 7 comments Mod
Hi, my name is Nikki White and I am the recruitment coordinator at Big Sister. This is my second time reading Half the Sky. I am still amazed, after rereading these first couple of stories, the adversity these women have gone through and their ability to rise above it. Particularly inspiring was Srey Rath's perseverance to escape the brothel and create her own business to support herself. I'm looking forward to reading more about microfinance in the upcoming chapters since I am more knowledgeable about it now, than when I had originally read the book.

message 3: by Deb (new)

Deb Re | 1 comments Mod
As a begin to read all these horrific stories about young women being dehumanized, I think about Martin Luther King's quote "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah MacDonald (smoulove) | 14 comments Mod
One thing that has surprised me so far is that I am reading about much of this for the first time--it's scary how problems like these can fall under the radar. Kristof and WuDunn estimate that there are 3 million women and girls currently enslaved in the sex trade. Yet somehow the whole issue goes unnoticed by so many.

message 5: by Linda (new)

Linda This book was passed on to me a few years ago when I was in grad school studying human trafficking, particularly sex trafficking and commercial exploitation as both a global and local social issue. I think it is important to remember as we are reading this book, that the same social constructs of gender discrimination, power differentiation, poverty, and abuse lead to the same sort of exploitation among children and teens in our own communities. Although the practice of recruiting, grooming and exploiting youth may vary in appearance from culture to culture, the belief that human life can be disposable for the sake of another man's profit, particularly the life of young girls, remains the driving force behind the issue across cultures. For more information on how this issue manifests itself within our own communities here in the US I recommend viewing the documentary, "Very Young Girls". Looking forward to more discussion on how these issues can be addressed both globally and locally through prevention, intervention and consciousness raising efforts.

Check out this link for information on how one community is using their resources to promote consciousness raising and aid efforts through the "Women Hold Up Half the Sky" exhibition at the Skirball Cultural Center in LA, CA:

message 6: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 1 comments I agree with Sarah how it is very scary how problems like these fall under the radar and are even socially acceptable in some countries!

One moment in the book that really stood out to me was when Nick was crossing the border from India into Nepal and the boarder patrol officer was monitoring for pirated DVDs but did not worry about trafficked girls because there "was nothing you can do about them". I just couldn't believe that they thought a pirated DVD was more valuable than a human life.

I was glad to be hearing about the small changes that are being made, and how there is hope. There needs to be much change though, and I am looking forward to hopefully being part of that change in some small way in the future!

message 7: by Bridgit (new)

Bridgit | 3 comments Hi, everyone. I'm a Big Sister, and I also work in public health with a focus on the health and rights of women and girls internationally. Many of the issues in this book are not new to me, but I am still struck by the extreme magnitude of some of these violations. The comparison with the 17th-18th century slave trade was especially striking.

So far what I have enjoyed most about this book is that the authors never manage to lose the tone of hope. The book is really true to the subtitle "Turning Oppression into Opportunity." It's so much more meaningful to recognize such tragic occurrences as opportunities for positive change (and how to go creating change), versus simply documenting the terrible things that happen around the world. I wish more of our journalists were like Kristoff and WuDunn!

message 8: by Rosemary (new)

Rosemary | 1 comments Half the Sky may be a tough read because of the subject matter (atrocities committed against women), but if you can get beyond the horror, you'll be inspired by the remarkable stories of women survivors who reclaimed their lives by gaining economic freedom. In the end, this is truly a remarkable,uplifting book about courageous, strong-willed women who are role models for humanity.

message 9: by Kristie (new)

Kristie | 2 comments Like many others that have commented here, I appreciate the way in which the authors raise awareness of these problems by focusing on specific individuals. I like the way in which the book has a positive message and demonstrates that this is by no means a "lost cause." I am only about half way through but will be interested to see if they focus at all on sex trafficiking in the US. I think so often when Americans here sex trafficking they think it is a problem in other countries. But in reality many of the same things are going on in the US and in Boston. I am attending a training this week on commercial sexual exploitation of adolescent girls and will be interested to see how this information and stories are similar to and different from the ones that I have read about in the book.

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