According to the Boston Globe, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is “urgent, passionate, compelling and a grab-the-reader-by-the-lapels wake-up call.” It is also our October book guide recommendation for GIVEGROWGO supporters. We’ve featured Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn’s follow-up to Half the Sky, A Path Appears, in our previous post and we believe that this book will be inspiring to those who believe in gender equality and empowering women. Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn are well known for winning the Journalism Pulitzer Prize as a married couple and Half The Sky is a passionate call to arms against the oppression against women around the globe, which they have termed ‘the central moral challenge of our time.’ The book features many stories of inspiring and extraordinary women across the globe who have shown the best and most effective ways to fight global poverty and unleash the power of women.

Half the Sky is a call for help, a call for contribution but also a call to volunteers worldwide to do their part.


For our readers who are ‘time-challenged,’ here are some of the takeaways from Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide:


So the time is ripe for a new emancipation movement to empower women and girls around the world. Politicians should take heed: in the United States, a 2006 poll found that 60 percent of respondents said that “improving the treatment of women in other countries” was “very important” for American foreign policy (another 30 percent said it was “somewhat important”). The movement should adhere to these principles:

  1. Strive to build broad coalitions across liberal and conservative lines. This makes practical results far easier to achieve.
  2. Resist the temptation to oversell. The humanitarian community has undermined its credibility with its exaggerated predictions. Research about women tends to come from people who care passionately about justice and gender, and who have convictions before they begin their studies. So be cautious about the findings. There’s nothing to be gained by exaggeration.
  3. Helping women doesn’t mean ignoring men.
  4. American feminism must become less parochial, so that it is every bit as concerned about sex slavery in Asia as with Title IX sports programs in Illinois. Likewise, Americans of faith should try as hard to save the lives of African women as the lives of unborn fetuses. In short, all of us need to become more cosmopolitan and aware of global repression based on gender.
  5. Any movement will need to be flexible: it should be relentlessly empirical and open to different strategies in different places and cultures.