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Half the Sky

Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

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Hardcover published by Knopf (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.

They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.

Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.

Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.
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From two of our most fiercely moral voices, a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

With Pulitzer Prize winners Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet the extraordinary women struggling there, among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity, and, ultimately, hope.

They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. A Zimbabwean mother of five, counseled to return to school, earned her doctorate and became an expert on AIDS.

Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.

Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.
Product Details
Hardcover (320 pages)
Published: September 8, 2009
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Knopf
ISBN: 9780307267146
Other books byNicholas D. Kristof
  • All That Is Bitter and Sweet

    All That Is Bitter and Sweet
    A Memoir
    NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER   In 2002, award-winning film and stage actor Ashley Judd found her true calling: as a humanitarian and voice for those suffering in neglected parts of the world. After her first trip to the notorious brothels, slums, and hospices of southeast Asia, Ashley knew immediately that she wanted to advocate on behalf of the vulnerable. During her travels, Ashley started to write diaries that detailed extraordinary stories of survival and resilience. But along the way, she realized that she was struggling with her own emotional pain, stemming from childhood abandonment and abuse. Seeking in-patient treatment in 2006 for the grief that had nearly killed her, Ashley found not only her own recovery and an enriched faith but the spiritual tools that energized and advanced her feminist social justice work. In this deeply moving and unforgettable memoir, Ashley Judd describes her odyssey, from lost child to fiercely dedicated advocate, from anger and isolation to forgiveness and activism. In telling it, she answers the ineffable question about the relationship between healing oneself and service to others. Foreword by Nicholas D. Kristof

    The Road of Lost Innocence

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    A riveting and beautiful memoir of tragedy and hope–by a woman named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world Born in a village deep in the Cambodian forest, Somaly Mam was sold into sexual slavery by her grandfather when she was twelve years old. For the next decade she was shuttled through the brothels that make up the sprawling sex trade of Southeast Asia. She suffered unspeakable acts of brutality and witnessed horrors that would haunt her for the rest of her life–until, in her early twenties, she managed to escape. Unable to forget the girls she left behind, Mam became a tenacious and brave leader in the fight against human trafficking, rescuing sex workers–some as young as five and six–offering them shelter, rehabilitation, healing, and love and leading them into new life. Written in exquisite, spare, unflinching prose, The Road of Lost Innocence is a memoir that will leave you awestruck by the courage and strength of this extraordinary woman and will renew your faith in the power of an individual to bring about change.

    Thunder from the East

    Thunder from the East
    From the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists and authors of China Wakes comes this insightful and comprehensive look at Asia on the rise. The recent economic crisis in Asia heaped devastation upon millions. Yet Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn argue that it was the best thing that could have happened to Asia. It destroyed the cronyism, protectionism, and government regulation that had been crippling Asian business for decades, and it left in its wake a vast region of resilient and determined millions poised to wrest economic, diplomatic and military power from the West. Thunder from the East is a riveting look at a complex region, a fascinating panoply of compelling characters, and a prophetic analysis from arguably the West's most informed and intelligent writers on Asia. From the Trade Paperback edition.

    In the Name of Honor

    In the Name of Honor
    A Memoir
    In June 2002, journalists throughout the world began to hear of the gang rape of a Pakistani woman from the impoverished village of Meerwala. The rape was ordered by a local clan known as the Mastoi and was arranged as punishment for indiscretions allegedly committed by the woman's brother. While certainly not the first account of a female body being negotiated for honor in a family, and (sadly) not the last, journalists and activists were captivated. This time the survivor had chosen to fight back, and in doing so, single-handedly changed the feminist movement in Pakistan. Her name was Mukhtar Mai, and her decision to stand up to her accusers was an act of bravery unheard of in one of the world's most adverse climates for women. By July 2002, Mai's case was headline news in Pakistan and under international scrutiny, the government awarded her the equivalent of 8,500 U.S. dollars in compensation money (a historic settlement), and her attackers were sentenced to death. Mukhtar Mai went on to open a school for girls in an effort to ensure that future generations would not suffer, as she had, from illiteracy. In this rousing account, Mai describes her experience and how she has since become an agent for change and a beacon of hope for oppressed women around the world. Timely and topical, In the Name of Honor is the remarkable and inspirational memoir of a woman who fought and triumphed against exceptional odds.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
  • Srey Rath is a self-confident Cambodian teenager whose black hair tumbles over a round, light brown face.

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  • The red-light district in the town of Forbesgunge does not actually have any red lights.

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  • "Women hold up half the sky." - Chinese Proverb

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  • What would men be without women? Scarce, sir, mighty scarce.- Mark Twain

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  • Women might just have something to contribute to civilization other than their vaginas. - Christopher Buckley, Florence of Arabia

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  • Although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery a very good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it, by being a slave himself. - Abraham Lincoln

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  • Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people.- George Bernard Shaw

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  • The mechanism of violence is what destroys women, controls women, diminishes women and keeps women in their so- called place.- Eve Ensler

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  • Would the world stand by it it were men who were dying just for completing their reproductive functions?- Asha Rose Migiro UN Deputy Secretary General 2007

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  • Whenever cannibals are on the brink of starvation, Heaven in its infinite mercy, sends them a nice plump missionary.- Oscar Wilde

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  • You must be the change you wish to see in the world. - Mahatma Gandhi

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  • Now let's get on with it and speed up the day when women truly hold up half the sky.

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