GPP Co-founder SImon Moss & GPP Intern Jessica Wild review the soon to be released book 'Half the Sky'.
After reading Half the Sky by Nick Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn, we were both simply blown away.
We have both read our fair share of books on the issues of poverty and injustice but this book was absolutely unique. We were so inspired that we worked to form a partnership with the publisher Virago, so that we could support its release and enable as many people as possible to read it.
Taking its name from a Chinese proverb – “Women hold up half the sky,” the book is a series of stories stitched together by analysis about the causes and consequences of discrimination against women in some of the world’s poorest countries. Taking a vigilantly positive line, even with some harrowing stories, it focuses on the importance of empowering women to transform their own lives, and the lives of their families and communities.
Its beauty lies in the recognition that regardless of where people are from, there’s a common thread of humanity that runs through our lives in the hopes, aspirations, fears and concerns we all share. Through the eyes of various women of the Global South, Wudunn and Kristof document stories of the incredible courage, determination, strength and bravery of some of the women around the world who battle against not only poverty, but extreme discrimination and oppression.
Stories of sex slaves who long to be loved again, women with acid poured on their faces who are determined to create a better future for their kids, and stories of women and men in countries all over the world who are moved to support, promote and enable those in the poorest countries to lift themselves out of poverty.
Reading this book you are reminded of the deeply entrenched injustice that faces far too many on our planet. As we discuss in our presentation 1.4 Billion Reasons, and as Half the Sky notes – women account for half of the world’s population, but three-fifths of those in live in extreme poverty. Women work two thirds of the world’s working hours, but earn just 10% of the world’s income and own less than 1% of the world’s assets.
Half the Sky gives these women a name, gives them a face, and gives them a voice. A voice that rises proudly from the pages of the book to declare, in the words of Goretti, a woman from Burundi,
“Before, I underestimated myself. I wouldn’t say anything to anybody. Now I know I have good ideas, and I tell people what I think.”
As the book so clearly identifies, the empowerment of women is central to the task of eradicating poverty; they are the solution, not the problem. It is a truly inspirational account which uniquely outlines how some of obstacles we face in the fight against poverty can be overcome.
It is a powerful tool for campaigning, to mobilise people, and to affect real and long-lasting change. If you read just one book about why fighting poverty and injustice matters, read this one. We challenge anyone not to be moved and inspired by it.
To celebrate the 2010 International Day for the Elimination of Poverty, we're giving away free copies of this fantastic book. To enter, simply tell us what inspired you to join the movement to end extreme poverty.