"Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide" by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Every year, at least two million girls disappear worldwide because of gender discrimination. Three million women and girls worldwide can be fairly termed enslaved in the sex trade. 2.7 billion people (40 per cent of the world's population) live on less than $2 a day.

Those are the facts. In 2010 the oppression of women and girls in the developing world is still a frightening reality. Women and girls throughout the world are sold into sex slavery, have no access to maternal health care and suffer devastating injuries in childbirth, are denied access to education and live in fear of violence.

But there is hope. Half the Sky shows how investing in women not only improves their lives, but improves their families, communities and countries. With stories of women who have stood up against oppression, whether in their own lives or the lives of others, this book will show you how fighting poverty begins with helping women.

The stories of these women are horrifying. For those of us in the developed world, it is difficult to understand the conditions other women live in. It is hard to believe that these conditions still exist. But these stories, of women who are changing their lives, are also inspiring! Not only because they have changed their circumstances, but in every case their success has spread throughout their communities. Cultural norms, attitudes, and laws are changing because of these women.

This is a book that every man and woman needs to read. Understand what is going on in our world, how women and girls are exploited and threatened, and then be inspired to change lives. You cannot read this book and not want to find your own way to help. A great feature of this book is it shows you how easy it is to get involved.

Women carry our world on their shoulders. And yet they are still treated as second class citizens as the world looks on. As Asha-Rose Migiro, UN Deputy Secretary General, said, "would the world stand by if it were men who were dying just for completing their reproductive functions?"


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