Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Half the Sky is a must-read for anyone concerned with improving the economy, supporting education, and improving overall quality of life worldwide. Half the Sky “lays out an agenda for the world’s women and three major abuses: sex trafficking and forced prostitution; gender-based violence including honor killings and mass rape; and maternal mortality, which needlessly claims one woman a minute.” Through the voices of real women, the book outlines the prolific socioeconomic devastation these three abuses cause, with specific ways to overcome and eliminate their effects. In a touching collection of stories from women around the developing world, Half the Sky shows how it is possible to change the world by honoring and empowering women. 

This way of thinking lends itself to the title of Half the Sky, which derives its name from a Chinese proverb stating that women hold up half the sky. The book asserts that while there are many worthy causes competing for attention in today’s weary world, the plight of women is the single most important issue. This is based on the fact that when half of an entire population is subjected, there quite simply can be no prosperity. Moreover, it has been proven that women are more likely than men to allot what resources they have toward the betterment of their children and the community, leading to overall prosperity in their economy and country. The below video illustrates this point in simple visual terms: 
To bring attention to the book, its doctrine, and its cause, Half the Sky authors, Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and and Sheryl WuDunn, appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show  in 2009 with activists and Academy Award winners Ben Affleck and George Clooney and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Together, these leaders outlined three simple ways you can help save a girl's life and change the world today:

1. Make girls smarter. Many pregnant women living in poverty don't get enough iodine, so their fetuses' brains do not develop properly. Their children routinely lose ten to 15 IQ points—particularly the girls, for reasons not fully understood. The solution: Iodize salt, at the cost of a couple of pennies per person per year. To contribute, go to Helen Keller International ( 

2. Support a woman's business. With a microloan of $50, a woman can start a business, producing income she can use to feed her children and send them to school. To make a loan, go to Mercy Corps ( or BRAC (, two groups helping women around the world. 

3. Keep a girl in school. A girl who gets an education will have fewer children, earn more money, and be able to help her younger siblings. One excellent support program operates in Cambodia, where uneducated girls are at great risk of being trafficked into brothels. For $10 a month, you can keep a girl in school through American Assistance for Cambodia (, or for $13,000, you can build an entire school that will revolutionize life in a village forever.

For even more impactful ways to help save a girl's life and change the world, click here

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