More Than Half of the Sky

For anyone who missed the NY Times Sunday magazine, boy, was it an eye opener. Nicholas Kristof, who I love following on Twitter, and his wife Sheryl WuDunn have written a book called Half of the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. In it, they say human rights for women is the paramount moral challenge of this century. Here is the excerpt they had in the magazine. Now, they aren’t talking about Title IX or maternity leave. All important things, but they are writing about the need to address the severe brutality and even murder that women and young girls face in many developing nations.
Creative Commons License photo credit: annrkiszt

A lot of the horrors I have read before, but there are still more doozies. Awful. And some of the solutions are so easy, micro-lending. It’s very humbling to read their work. I was raised a feminist, but it’s easy to go about life and not deal with how horribly women are treated in many parts of the world. There is growing recognition that if you improve the lot of women you improve the society at large. That’s why I say it’s MORE than half the sky. Also, in the essay, they say men of the developing nation they don’t spend money as wisely as women do. If a women gets $5 she will buy a mosquito tent so her babies don’t get malaria; they guy uses the $5 for drink.

The whole magazine had great stuff, including a good article by Lisa Belkin (who guests on Momversation with me) about how in the days of suffrage, wealthy women did not support women (I would guess it was because they didn’t control the purse strings), but now wealthy women are supporting women’s causes.

I’m going to investigate the best way to effect change in this regard… knowing I’m distracted, selfish, and have a short attention span. Maybe finding a place to donate to a micro-lending organization. Let me know if you have any ideas.

6 thoughts on “More Than Half of the Sky

  1. Thanks for reminding me of this amazingly important issue.

    I’m all concerned about which school shoes my kids will wear and if my son will stick with feather weight football…it’s good to have some global perspective.

    Thanks Daphne

  2. Thanks for posting this! Check out It is a non-profit that allows you as an individual to lend to woman (and men) in developing countries who are trying to get businesses off the ground (or expand a current business). I heard about it from a friend who has supported a number of women over the past 2 years. She was paid back and was able to lend the money again. I just signed up to lend money to 3 women about a month ago. Such a simple but great idea!

  3. You’re so right, Daphne. Just bringing this to the discussion table is helping. For every comment you get on your site, I’ll bet there’s 50 people who read, but don’t comment. So, maybe they’ll read today’s post, and then think about it.

    I read an article from TIME about a year ago to my boys: how the Taliban would not allow women to be schooled, or seen by a Dr., and how their house windows had to be painted over in black paint, so they couldn’t be seen. We have 3 boys, and just making them aware of mistreatment of women is doing something.

    Thank you for bringing this issue out, hopefully, it’ll cause some people to search out and learn more.

    I know one of the reasons my mother came to this country is because they had no rape laws at the time where she was from: the officials felt that if a woman were to be raped, then she placed herself in that situation.

  4. Sheryl Wudunn & Nicholas Kristof’s “Women’s Crusade” article in the New York Times magazine contains searing and moving exposure of the horrific conditions of women around the globe and this is most necessary. But what they prescribe as the way forward along with their blotting out 27 years of pathbreaking history is dangerous. Sunsara Taylor has written and spoken on this widely.

    Listen to her response to Wudunn & Kristof:

    And read A Declaration: For Women’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity:

  5. ARgh! god, that is so maddening. judging from my “ratings” I think there are many people who don’t comment, but thank you those that do!!!

    Kelli, my stepdaughter Vanessa, who does know just about everything, emailed me about Kiva. It sounds great and when I bring back Viv from baseball class I will check out.

    Meredith, gosh that is me every day. Sometimes I just need to sock myself in the face. ( in the get over yourself way, not in the oppressed way)

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