“Women hold half the sky.” – Chinese Proverb.
Authors of Half the Sky, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn, shared this proverb after the dedication page.
I have one word to describe this book: AMAZING. All the empowering women you will meet in this book from all over the world will inspire you to chase your dreams and create a life with no limitations.
I was sucked in the moment I read the first paragraph to the moment I read the last word. Reading this book truly humbled me. Though gender oppression, sexual objectifying, and disrespect to our women exists where we live, reading the stories of women in countries where there are non-existent rights for them to own their lives and bodies opened my eyes to how good I actually have it.
I’ve experienced gender oppression all my life, but to read the excruciating obstacles other women experience and overcame, reminds me that if they can endure and surpass their difficult life situations, I also can triumph through anything.
No book has fired me up so much, and no book has made me more proud to be a women than Half the Sky.
I enjoyed the authors’ structure of the novel. It felt extremely intimate as it took the reader into the personal lives of various women from different walks of life and countries. As a reader, I saw through the eyes of women who fell into the system of sex trafficking, led villages and powerful social movements, and challenged cultural and gender norms to be self-efficient financially stable business owners.
It explains in great detail the many barriers women experience such as, family planning in undeveloped countries, toxic expectations and roles, public shaming through various acts like rape, ridicule, and murder, misogyny, and further oppression from our very own women.
Why are women underestimated? Because there is this long established male narrative that blocks women from being in the spot light. Most often, women are highly competent, but it’s the men in their lives that fear the lost of control; the fear of losing their women, so they’ve created a passive narrative for them. But as this book shows, they are not so passive. They are leaders, innovators, educators, mothers, all at the same time.
This book contains graphic content, so readers with weak stomachs and soft hearts, you may just cry (often) during this read. There were many moments where I just stopped reading because the treatment and restrictions inflicted on women angered me so much.
I want to share with you the first paragraph.
Srey Rath is a self-confident Cambodian teenager whose black hair tumbles over a round, light brown face. She is in a crowded street market, standing beside a pushcart and telling her story calmly, with detachment. The only hint of anxiety or trauma is the way she often pushes her hair from in front of her black eyes, perhaps a nervous tick. Then she lowers her hand and her long fingers gesticulate and flutter in the air with incongruous grace as she recounts her odyssey (pg. xi).
Please READ READ READ this book. It tells all the gory but real experiences women and girls endure, but also gives high hopes for a better future and suggests a great solution to increasing opportunities for our beautiful and intelligent women. Happy reading.
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❤ Wabi Sabi