Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Half the Sky

When my friend April said she had a great book for me to read, I was excited. Would it be witty and wry? Tense and thrilling? Neither. It's the real-life story of crimes against women throughout the world, including honor killings and sexual trafficking.

Hmmmm....has Dave Barry written anything lately? But April was insistent so I gave it a go. It is truly a shock to realize that slavery still exists today, usually in the form of forced prostitution. The authors interviewed girls who were lured from their families with the promise of jobs in the big city, then forced into prostitution. In other parts of the world, women who speak out risk having acid thrown in their faces. I could go on and on (and the book does).

But the thing that makes me recommend this book to you, as April said, is the message of hope that pervades each chapter. The number one idea stressed over and over is that
educating women will help stop violence against women. Educated women are more confident, and a society where women contribute is one where women wield some of the power. Women who are educated can help support their families, so their little sisters don't have to go looking for work. This brutality can be stopped, at the grassroots level, if we all pitch in, and the book outlines many specific ways we can help.

Rating: Life-changing. I so admire the way the authors were able to write about such tragedy and leave the reader with a sense of hope. I guess that's why they won the Pulitzer.

p.s. If you only support charities that Ashton believes in (doesn't that apply to most of us?), this is the one for you.


  1. I have been learning a bit about this topic lately. Thanks for the book recommendation!
    Unfortunately, foreign women are not the only ones affected (I don't know if the book touches on this or not). The city where I currently live, Baton Rouge, is one of the top ten sex trafficing cities in the US. Education (dropping out of school to work) and broken families play a major part here as well.
    So sad : (

  2. Absolutely, they talk about the US as well.

  3. Thanks for the book recommendation.

  4. Sounds like its a tough read but you make an excellent point about the awareness... I've been looking for good inspiring reads, I'll have to check this out.. thanks for posting!!