Archive for October, 2009
Human Rights Book Review – ‘Half the Sky : Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide’ by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn
Posted on October 4, 2009. Filed under: Human Rights | Tags: book reviews, case studies, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), gender rights, human right book review, Human Rights, human trafficking, poverty, sex discrimination, sex trafficking, slavery, social conditions, Social Justice, women, women's rights |
Human Rights Book Review – ‘Half the Sky : Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide’
Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn
From the outset, we here at the HRBR were impressed by the high concentration of quality information presented in this book. Few stones appear left unturned in this work and few of our heartsrings were left unpulled.
The authors, Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl Wu Dunn are a pair of journalists and Pulitzer Prize winning authors that have bravely been covering many of the worlds big current events for decades – one being their extensive coverage of Tianammen Square massacres. Their marriage union is oft reflected in their amazing high quality works of collaboration. This book is certainly no exception.
If you are interested in feminism and gender equality and particularly as it applies to human rights in third world or less developed parts of the world, you are most assured of a rollercoaters ride of a read. You will, no doubt about it, travel to hell and back to your safely protected world (that’s so long as you are not reading this book from a country that the book itself covers).
The Chinese have a saying that ‘Women hold up half the sky’. Kristoff and Wu Dunn have not only used this as part of the title for this book, but clearly and most aptly demonstrate that the third world countries that don’t live by such a broad sweeping maxim, are most assuredly self limiting their own progress. In a world that is moving forward at such enormous pace, notwithstanding the temporary world financial crisis, it can easily be seen from their book, that to not enshrine gender equality is not just a basic human rights no no which is morally disastrous to the country in question, but also tantamount to guaranteeing ones own economic impotence. Countries such as China that have lived by their words have seen enormous prosperity for not just women, but to all sexes and walks of life. So very ironic that China can be viewed positively in some areas of human rights as a beacon of light, when their broader human rights shortcomings are so easily denounced.
This book is filled with stomach churning stories of human rights abuses, lack of basic healthcare and education. This has the effect of making the reader all the more outraged and disgusted if and when we juxtapose and contrast our own basic and most fundamental rights and freedoms which we so obviously take for granted, against the daily despair as depicted in this book of poverty, starvation, medical delinquency, beatings, rapes and tortures that female minds and bodies endure in so many countries across Africa, The Middle East and Asia.
An extremely well written work of inspiration, ‘Half the Sky’ is a book that we are happy to recommend. It will leave you sad, bewildered, grateful and furious. You will want to act and contribute to a better world, all of which the authors help facilitate. They do this by appealing to your sensibilities, calling you to act and then guiding you/us in a way that we all can help, so easily and right now.
Get this book now – it is a must read.
Where to pick up a copy:
Here are just some of the accolades others are giving ‘Half The Sky : Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide’
Khaled Hosseini, author, The Kite Runner
The stories that Kristof and WuDunn share are as powerful as they are heartbreaking. Their insight into gender issues and the role of women in development inspires hope, optimism, and most importantly, the will to change. Both a brutal awakening and an unmistakable call to action, this book should be read by all.
Fareed Zakaria, author, The Post-American World
Greg Mortenson, author, Three Cups of Tea