Half The Sky Book Review

Lauryn Takisaki, Keiro Staff Member

Book Review: Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn

For my final clinical rotation in the Masters of Science in Nursing program at Seattle University, I decided to work at a government hospital in the town of Monze in Zambia, Africa. Here, I was tasked with completing a sustainable community health project. With empowerment, sustainability, and cultural sensitivity on my mind, I was inspired to network in the community and find out what the community really wanted, not what I thought they needed. Through educating the community and providing them with the resources to help themselves, my project would be more sustainable and more meaningful to the people of Monze. By some wonderful coincidence, my aunt had given me a book prior to my departure for Africa. She had written in the cover that it had not only inspired her, but changed her life. I began reading Half the Sky during the third week of my trip and quickly realized that education and empowerment not only improve the health of communities, it saves lives.

Written by New York Times writer, Nicholas Kristof, and correspondent, Sheryl Wudunn, Half the Sky tells the true stories of numerous women around the world that suffer from three major abuses that are unfortunately very common. Sex trafficking and forced prostitution, violence against women including honor killings and mass rape, and maternal mortality. These stories are about girls being sold into prostitution by their grandparents for money; women outcast or killed by their husbands and families after having an obstructed labor; girls that excelled in school but were forbidden to continue their education because sending girls to school is a waste of money. These women live in different parts of the world but share the same misfortune of being female, oppressed, and abused.

Kristof and Wudunn are able to tell the stories of these women and the triumphs that education has brought them. Through education, empowerment, and the help of others, these women have succeeded in overcoming discrimination, abuse, and poverty. Educating the women as well as their families and their husbands, leads to greater independence. The women in this book have become successful money lenders, business women, and hospital administrators. They have gone on to empower many other women in their communities to escape abuse.

The stories of these women gave me hope that I can make a difference in somebody’s life, whether it is through volunteering, donating, or simply spreading the word. According to their website, www.halftheskymovement.org, Half the Sky is not only a book; it is a movement and a call to action. By telling the stories of women that have overcome adversity, it inspires readers to act and to help somebody. What I appreciate most about this book is that the stories teach you that you do not have to be a health professional, an activist, or a CEO to make a difference. Anyone that cares can make a huge difference in someone’s life. I highly recommend this book to anyone concerned about human rights, anyone who enjoys the freedoms associated with living in a developed country, and anyone who has a woman in their life.

Lauryn Takisaki is a Health Promotions Specialist at The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro.  She is also an RN from Seattle who moved down to LA to work with us here at Keiro! 

The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

 

 

The material presented on this site is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily represent the opinions of Keiro Senior HealthCare, The Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, or its contributors. Readers should consult appropriate health, legal, or financial professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.  Full disclaimer

One response to “Half The Sky Book Review

  1. alyssa potance

    This book confounded me. On one hand I am reading about the brutal realities from the above mentioned article that WuDunn and her husband recorded via interviews with the survivors. On the other hand, my stomach turns over while trying to get through the authors’ intellectual arguments for the case of global marketplace expansion to be of benefit to rural East Asian women. The authors themselves recognize the hardships of factory labor for women and go on to explain that corporations and their local henchman prefer to hire female because of their “docility and nimble fingers”. They continue to mention one single sentence about sexual harassment in these factories but fail to explore the larger framework of how this kind of capitalist exploitation only serves to undercut women further with such examples of forced abortion, rape, labor and health code violations, and environmental damage to name a few. The authors try to argue that this reality is better for the women than their option of working agricultural fields in rural areas which pays much less and is undoubtedly harder physical labor. This is no excuse however, and I’m shocked that 1) this book took a very politically conservative perspective on labor rights and 2) that in my scanning over the internet for reviews of this book that no person has brought this up yet. Please, please, please read this book closely. The dialogue and personal stories are compelling but side sweep so much of the bigger picture.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s