28 January 2015

2015 Reading List: Half the Sky

Its seems like every year, I start off in a good reading groove. As the months go on, I slack off a bit ... or a lot. Summer comes, and I pick it back up again. But then in the Fall, its just gone. Completely. I don't pick up anything until Christmas time, or later. But this year? It's going to be different. {I think.} And so far, so good. I just finished my second book of the year, and we're on a roll.

Half the Sky is an intense read, honestly. If you are interested in social science, women's freedoms around the world, or just want to be downright SHOCKED by how some societies treat their females, pick up this book, now. Or even better, watch the documentary by the same name, on Netflix. You will be amazed. Saddened. And quite possibly driven to do something yourself.

Kristoff and WuDunn, the authors of the book, have spent much of their adult life traveling around the world, living in China, and other developing, or third-world nations, exposing whats really going on that doesn't typically make the news. Everything from sexual slavery, genital mutilation, raping, abusing, and mis-educating women are covered in the chapters of this book.

The greatest part though? The chapters aren't just filled with statistics and information. They actually put a name and a face to their stories. You are introduced to women who have been to Hell and back, seen the darkness that you can only imagine in the horror stories, and lived to tell about it. And many of these women have turned their lives around and are now successful. Its incredibly inspiring.

By far, my favorite stories are those about micro-financing. Organizations that give women tiny loans, educate them on different issues, as well as teach them skills that will help them build their business, and then watch as they go out into their own worlds and utilize these new skills. They farm, harvest and sell crops at market. They create embroidery and other handiworks, sell them at market, and take the profit to pay back loans, invest in their childrens' educations, and save money, becoming self-sufficient.

Its a great message that not only are women capable, they can come back from nothing, and rise to the top!

As heavy as this story was, you can bet my next read will be something light and easy. But I don't doubt that this one will stick with me for a long while.


  1. Very cool. I've seen advertisements for those macro loans but I've never contributed. I should change that! Good luck on your 2015 reading goals.

  2. Thanks for sharing, this sounds great! Will have to add the documentary to our Netflix queue, too.