Book Review – Daughters of Juarez (Las Hijas de Juarez) by Teresa Rodriguez, Diana Montané and Lisa Pulitzer; Atria, Simon & Schuster 2008.

Posted on February 13, 2010. Filed under: Books, Human Rights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Daughters of Juarez (Las Hijas de Juarez)
Teresa Rodriguez, Diana Montané and Lisa Pulitzer;
Atria, Simon & Schuster 2008.
ISBN10: 0743292030; ISBN13: 9780743292030

Daughters of Juarez by Teresa Rodriguez, Diana Montané and Lisa Pulitzer

Daughters of Juarez by Teresa Rodriguez, Diana Montané and Lisa Pulitzer

For over a decade Juárez, Mexico, a city adjacent to the Rio Grande El Paso, Texas continues to be the focal point for a sickening criminal offensive  towards the female population. Comprising of abductions, sexual assault, mutilation, mass murder, the majority of barbarous acts possess the same patterns or elements i.e.  females, youthful, slender, and victims of low socio-economic backgorunds – giving weight to one particular presumption: the fact that the murders are not haphazard or one-offs but by clearly by design. It is truly femicide on a mass scale.

Regardless of the countless police and military busts and raids throughout the previous decade or so, the homicides persist in occurrence and frequency and the perpetrators are increasinly becoming more daring, getting rid of corpses within the limits of the actual city as an alternative to hiding them outside in the desert (which was how and where the first bodies were initially found). There seems to be a sinister air of a probable expanding and generally mind boggling accord and possible co-operation in a dodgy atmosphere of hushing up and suspect intransigence by Mexican officials.

Picture of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Picture of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

‘Daughters of Juarez’ is undoubtedly a good solid engaging read for it is an authentic account of this mass femicide. Rodriguez makes a difference to many of the people impacted and  indeed damaged by these atrocities by bringing the terrible incidents to light for all of us to see.

Despite the good this particular account may do,  the book ‘Daughters of Juarez’ is nevertheless afflicted with a shortfall in design. Rodriguez jumps between dates, men and women and happenings so often that it becomes very difficult to stay easily on track. She often endulges in going too far with what should be more simple explanations . The storytelling as good as it is in some parts seems like a waste at other times – I feel there could have been more time spent on humanizing many of the victims by telling part of their story. Perhaps Rodriguez could enlighten us on further background  in a follow up book.  Some citations should have also been utilized by the author  to assist the reader make headway of the depth of analysis and background investigatory work  that must have been devoted to this book. So much unnecessary material could have been left out and replaced with substance of a more poignant nature.

Many readers will most likely be terrified by the depth of violence that the hundreds of victims were subjected to. But let us not forget the suffering experienced in so many ways by their families that is equally  incomprehensibly terrifying. No matter how iron cast you think your stomach may be the story will shock you!

The account is riveting and should be required reading, however the drawn out  composition of thoughts and the explanation involving exactly what the family members endured as well as the over dramatized retelling of the specific events seems to block the natural flow – a flow that ordinarily would encourage you not to put such a book down.

Furthermore, a more concise assessment on the specifics as well as extra cultural evaluation is likely to have assisted one to gain a clearer picture more readily (eg.  the ongoing drug wars, the prevailing gang mentaliy, the  sex discrimination deeply seeded in Mexican way of life, the ubiquitous corruption in border towns.) Did they contribute in anyway to the mass and serial murders of the women of Juarez? Readers I am sure would like to know.

Such a kind of book as ‘Daughters of Juarez’ also casts light on the ironic fact that intelligent U.S citizens, many whom are uninformed, are consuming not just products and goods from exploited workers in Mexican sweatshops south of their border, but also consuming many of those goods stained with the blood of victims of mass femicide and the victims families tears. The facts remain – women continue to be second rate citizens in Mexico to this day, while only a stones throw away, across the border, life goes on as per usual in the US with taken for granted freedoms, justice and equality.  It is an unfortunate fact that the United States indirectly supports the ongoing repression because of their unquentionable thirst for consumerism.

Ciudad Juarez Crosses

Ciudad Juarez Crosses

Look over ‘Daughters of Juarez’ and then consider embarking on a getaway to Mexico. You will think about your lovely trip a whole lot more differently – guaranteed!

Even now, you can find little published regarding the issues raised in ‘Daughters of Juarez’. Perhaps if such a nightmarish situation occurred just north of the border, in El Paso, USA or within virtually any other developed or modern city anywhere else on the planet, we would certainly see it making headlines and causing mass public outcry. This is why this book is so very crucial. It brings the horrific events to the world’s attention.

But we must re-iterate despite the importance of the work bringing this topic to the world, the authors have done a diservice to the cause by their excessive dramatizing which can seem increasingly overdone and often contrived as one progresses through the book.

We do recommend reading the book and probably purchasing it. Support your local library and ask them to get it in for you if they do not aleady have it on their shelves. Regardless of some of its minor flaws, Daughters of Juarez is engaging and still worth a read.

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Congratulations to Professor Geraldine Van Bueren and all the the new commissioners at the Equality and Human Rights Commission

Posted on November 28, 2009. Filed under: Books, Human Rights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

New Commissioner appointments have just been announced to Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission. It is envisaged that the three-year appointments, announced by Harriet Harman, Minister for Women and Equality, will bolster most considerably the Commission’s ongoing and future work on gender, sex orientation, race, religion and belief, age, disability, and human rights in general, as well as its work with employers in both the private and public sector.

Commissioner Van Bueren - courtesy of

Of the appointments, all worthy and deserving in their own way, we would like to single out for particular congratulations, Professor Geraldine Van Bueren. Professor, or should we say Commissioner Van Bueren, has not only an illustrious legal and academic career to her credit, but is also a distinguished author of some very important core human rights texts that we should bring to the attention of our readers.

They are (in chronological order):

*Child Rights in Europe: Convergence and Divergence in Judicial Protection

*Article 40: Child Criminal Justice (Commentary on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 40)

*Childhood Abused: Protecting Children Against Torture, Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment and Punishment

*International Law on the Rights of the Child (International Studies in Human Rights)

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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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Human Rights Book Review – ‘Half the Sky : Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide’

Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn

Half The Sky Review

Half the Sky by Kristoff and WuDunn is rollercoaster of a read

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:

Amazon US, EU/UK, Canada.


Here are just some of the accolades others are giving ‘Half The Sky : Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide’

An unblinking look at one of the seminal moral challenges of our time. This stirring book is at once a savage indictment of gender inequality in the developing world and an inspiring testament to these women’s courage, resilience, and their struggle for hope and recovery. An unexpectedly uplifting read.
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.
Melinda Gates.

Half the Sky is a passionate and persuasive plea to all of us to rise up and say ‘No more!’ to the 17th-century abuses to girls and women in the 21st-century world. This is a book that will pierce your heart and arouse your conscience. It is a powerful piece of journalism by two masters of the craft who are tireless in their pursuit of one of the most shameful conditions of our time.
Tom Brokaw

If you have always wondered whether you can change the world, read this book. Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn have written a brilliant call to arms that describes one of the transcendent injustices in the world today–the brutal treatment of women. They take you to many countries, introduce you to extraordinary women, and tell you their moving tales. Throughout, the tone is practical not preachy and the book’s suggestions as to how you can make a difference are simple, sensible, and yet powerful. The authors vividly describe a terrible reality about the world we live in but they also provide light and hope that we can, in fact, change it.
Fareed Zakaria, author, The Post-American World

It’s impossible to exaggerate the importance of this book about one of the most serious problems of our time: the worldwide abuse and exploitation of women. In addition to describing the injustices, Kristof and WuDunn show how concerned individuals everywhere are working effectively to empower women and help them overcome adversity. Wonderfully written and vividly descriptive, Half the Sky can and should galvanize support for reform on all levels. Inspiring as it is shocking, this book demands to be read.
Anne Rice

I think it’s impossible to stand by and do nothing after reading Half the Sky. It does what we need most, it bears witness to the sheer cruelty that mankind can do to mankind.
George Clooney

I read Half the Sky in one sitting, staying up until 3 a.m. to do so. It is brilliant and inspirational, and I want to shout about it from the rooftops and mountains. It vividly illustrates how women have turned despair into prosperity and bravely nurtured hope to cultivate a bright future. The book ends with an especially compelling ‘What you can do’ to exhort us all to action.
Greg Mortenson, author, Three Cups of Tea

Women facing poverty, oppression, and violence are usually viewed as victims. Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky shows that unimaginable challenges are often met with breathtaking bravery. These stories show us the power and resilience of women who would have every reason to give up but never do. They will be an inspiration for anyone who reads this book, and a model for those fighting for justice around the world. You will not want to put this book down.
Angelina Jolie
<strong>Khaled Hosseini</strong>, <em>author, The Kite Runner</em><strong>Melinda Gates</strong><strong>Tom Brokaw</strong><strong>Fareed Zakaria</strong>, <em>author, The Post-American World</em><strong>Anne Rice</strong><strong>George Clooney</strong><strong>Greg Mortenson</strong>, <em>author, Three Cups of Tea</em><strong>Angelina Jolie</strong>

Where to pick up a copy of Half The Sky:

Amazon US, EU/UK, Canada.

The Nile -Australia's Largest Online Bookstore - Over 1.5 Million Book Titles

The Nile - New Zealand's Largest Online Bookstore - Over 1.5 Million Book Titles

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Can women outdo the men? Book Review: ‘Through the Labyrinth: the truth about how women become leaders’ by Linda Carli and Alice Eagly

Posted on April 27, 2009. Filed under: Books, Human Rights | Tags: , , |


The days of ‘mens club’ leadership has dissipated somewhat, albeit still present. As this new paradigm is moving to the fore, so too is a whole new collateral industry developed with those willing to study, explain and profit from it. Not all of those that involve themselves with female leadership can be considered sucker fish at the gills of a large shark however. The present authors must be exluded from the latter and are to be commended for their work in the field and with this treatise.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that women in leadership was a concept that was chuckled at in the male dominated boardrooms across the world. But the most recent generational changes have seen a definite shift in the concept and reality of female leaders in positions of power and importance. It is now commonplace and accepted. It is, rightfully, more and more the norm.

Alice Eagley and Linda Carli are two psychologists and respected academics who have given much of their lives to the teaching of the psychology of gender and organisational psychology – especially sex differences in similarities in leadership. They apply their years of wisdom and experience here in this, their book, ‘Through the Labyrinth : The truth about how women become leaders’.
Their mooted metaphor change of a labyrinth (from the ‘glass ceiling’ methaphor) fits nicely with their arguments, summations and fascinating reccomendations that women must find their own individualistic style with a ‘twice as good’ as men approach to overcome the many natural obstacles, unfair stereotypes and discriminatory stigmas still attached to female advancement on the corporate ladder today.
The book acts as a tangible, comprehensive one stop shop on this important topic. It provides a commanding overview in compliment to the sometimes confusing plethora of materials inside the academia and outside that already exist in large number. Carli and Eagley quickly cut to the core of what leadership truly means and how different styles, context and settings can determine how female leadership rates in success when compared to their male counterparts under similar and dissimilar influencing properties.
While this work has a very academic and professional feel to it, it is still couched in terms and language that most of us can relate to. ‘Through the Labyrinth : The truth about how women become leaders’ should be read by everyone from policy makers, leadership coaches, students to lay people alike. This book would make a priceless addition to any local/municipal library, large public library or highly specialised library collection. It has our thumbs up for acquisition.

Table of Contents:

*Is there still a glass ceiling? *Where are the women leaders? *Are men natural leaders? *Do family responsibilities hold women back? *Is discrimination still a problem? *What is the psychology of prejudice toward female leaders? *Do people resist women’s leadership? *Do women lead differently from men? *Do organizations compromise women’s leadership? *How do some women find their way through the labyrinth? *How good are women leaders and what does their future hold? p>

Accolades: 2007 McKinsey Award winner

Linda Carli, speaks of the glass ceiling here in this podcast link

Amazon links:



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