We just finished reading this groundbreaking book, Half the Sky. The authors, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, definitely opened our eyes to this unbelievable global disaster!
Every year, at least 2 million girls worldwide disappear because of discrimination! The world is in the grip with a massive moral outrage – no less blameworthy or in the intensity of despair than the African slave trade of the 18th and 19th centuries or the genocides of the 20th. They believe this outrage is a key factor behind many of the most pressing economic and political issues today, from famine in Africa to Islamist terrorism and climate change. Yet they say the phenomenon is largely hidden, invisible to most of us and passing relatively unreported. At worst it is actively tolerated; at best it is ignored.
The true victim of this trade in human suffering is not African people, but women. Again, the constant struggle for gender equality.
“When you hear that 60 to 100 million females are missing in the current population, you think that number compares in the scope and size. And then you compare the slave trade at its peak in the 1780
s, when there were 80,000 slaves transported from Africa to the New World, and you see there are now 10 times that amount of women trafficked across international borders, so you start to think you are talking about comparable weight.”
Their disturbing conclusion seems all the more powerful for being reached at the end of what they call a “journey of awakening”. That is what makes their book – named after the Chinese saying that women hold up half the sky – so unusual, not just in its searing and heart-rending contents but in its steely determination and sense of purpose. As a community, we need to fully acknowledge that slavery and abuse of women is the greatest moral outrage of our century. And from their opening pages, there is a strong call-to-action. “We hope to recruit you,” the authors write, “to join an incipient movement to emancipate women . . . Just open your heart and join in.”
Get the book here.