Family father, neuroscientist, and non-fiction addict.
I am not a stereotypical feminist feminist. I think that there is overwhelming evidence demonstrating that men and women differs from each other, and not just because of cultural or environmental influence, but because men have a Y-chromosome whereas women do not. I also think that these differences mean that the ambitions of men and women can differ leading to different life choices. For example, men more easily fall in love with and seek to acquire power while women values family more. This does not mean of course that any specific man has to be a certain way, merely that there are small average differences between the two sexes.
I hope that the above is sufficient to convince any reader that I really am not an obnoxious feminist, and therefore readers should trust me when I say that this book is also not a “feminist book”. The authors nowhere argues that men and women should be equal or that men are evil or anything like that. Rather they argue that men and women should have equal rights and that granting this is actually a win win scenario for everyone on the planet. While the discrimination against women, which is still widespread in the world today, entails a huge amount of suffering for the victimized women, men would also benefit it these practises were halted. A country in which half the population is stuffed away in the closet will never reach the same heights as a nation in which everyone contributes with their own set of skills. China’s economic takeoff occurred when women entered the workforce, and the wealthiest (and happiest) nations on earth, are those where the law does not distinguish between the sexes.
To be sure, the fact that men would benefit should not be the most important argument for halting discrimination against women. It should be self evident that, from a moral perspective, men and women should be granted equal rights and equal opportunities at birth. What they decide to do with their lives should be up to each individual (as long as it means no harm to others). If someone is against equal rights for men and women they should probably not read this book, but then again, if anyone holds such arcane opinions I doubt that they have read much at all…
Over 14 chapters the two journalists visit various “women issues”, such as sex trafficking, maternal care, freedom of speech, family planning, contraceptives, sexual abuse etc. In each chapter they provide statistics, making sure to use realistic estimates rather than the inflated numbers reported by some organisations. They also exemplify the different issues with stories about individual human beings, noting that such stories are necessary for the reader to understand, and act. Some of the more surprising statements in the book is that maternal health is actually not a very cost-effective way of helping women. If we assume that there is only limited funds more lives can be saved by providing condoms and iodine, and education. The authors also assert that sweatshops have been a blessing, especially for the women. If we again look to China, these sweatshops have allowed women to climb the career ladder and many of them now live comfortable, productive and fulfilling lives. It is easy for us in the west to be nostalgic about Chinese people riding bicycles in the countryside but it can become a bit absurd when westerners think they know what type of life is right for Chinese women.
With a combination of anecdotes and statistics to back them up, the authors provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges that remain with us when it comes equality between the sexes. They also show us how the world will improve if we meet these challenges, not only for the women but for everyone.
You should TOTALLY still buy this audiobook - the narrator isn't unlistenable....she's just not at all the kind of narrator this (or any) book needs.
Her voice is a bit nasal.
She sounds like an elitist asshole.
She sounds super super "white"
I'm caucasian...but i just hate that snooty white lady voice.
Ok, i've ranted enough about the narrator.
This book is incredible. It's brutal, but still inspires you. Best thing I've listened to since "Behind the Beautiful Forevers"
At first , I wanted to put it down , as just another sad story. I continued anyways and it was not long before the inspiration revealed itself.
Knowing there is progress, and a list of ways to help make a difference, makes this book unique and deems it worthy of passing on to any and all who will listen.
I'm insisting my daughter read it.
Listen if you are ok with butchered Chinese. Don't know how good or bad the other foreign terms sound.
The story is definitely worth listening to.
Listen, understand, serve
This book tuned me in to reality using broad statistics and stories of deep pain and abuse to open my eyes to how we, the "good" people of the world, have been blind to the suffering of people all around the world, and have not taken or created opportunities to make a change. Instead of preaching to me, the authors shared their stories of witnessing abuse and neglect, of intervening to change cultures and conventional wisdom, of opening their hearts and wallets and dirtying their hands to help truly downtrodden people and even dying individuals. Instead of telling me I should make a difference, they gave stories of people who had actually made a difference, and told me of several ways in which I am already empowered to do exactly that.
I laughed sometimes, and was taken aback because the delight came in the midst of the deeply troubling themes addressed in most of the book. I cried a lot because I finally understood that the stories on the news are not stories, but real suffering being endured by a real person, and I have been desensitized for too long. Mostly, though, I was just ruminating on everything, the good and the bad, and letting the authors' message act as a catalyst so I could get to know myself better, and decide how I can make a difference in my own way.
I delayed starting this book, because based on the cover and title, it seemed academic, just a non-fiction report I felt I should read. From the very start, it was jarring. It has changed my perception of the world, my understanding of myself, my focus as a mother, and my desire to be of service to others. Thank you to the authors for this book!
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
In “Half the Sky”, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn document the world’s guilt for misogyny. They report the contempt of men, and prejudices of society toward women. Their assessment of guilt is not limited to gender. Misogyny originated with men but the author’s stories and evidence suggest perpetuation by cultures that include both genders.
“Half the Sky” is filled with interviews of brothel women in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The authors recount young girl’s seduction, abduction, or purchase from families around the world. Different societies discount the humanity of women. Young girls are so desperate to survive; they believe stories about jobs in other countries and accept human traffickers’ lies to leave their families. In some cases, families are so poor they sell their girl-children for family survival. Prostitution and pornography are growth industries that perpetuate cultural misogyny.
Two hundred thousand years of gender discrimination is unlikely to be reversed in this century. Kristof and WuDunn infer that each step to fight misogyny makes a difference. But, each described fight seems like a drip of water meant to erode a granite mountain. Progress is slow because men are still mostly in control. By the end of Kristof’s and WuDunn’s book, guilt is not assuaged and equality seems a millennium away.
Can't make that judgement. I only have the audio version and it was well read, informative, entertaining...I cried throughout most of the book.
I like how they personalized the information.
I didn't have a favorite. She did a wonderful job on all of them.
I found myself having to pause the book and compose myself to listen on. It brought up every emotion that I have. As a result, I am finishing up a course to be certified to teach English overseas.
I only have one question for the authors. At one point they bring up the Prophet Mohammed's first wife and use her as a positive example for women but never mention that she was only 6 (?) when he married her. I am not sure about that exact age but I read a biography of him and it was disturbing to say the least.
I prefer reading it, but I don't have time. I thought the narrator should be reading a chick lit book or at least show more compassion in her reading.
My favorite person of interest was Usha. I thought she was brave in standing up to Akku Yadav and inspired other women in her community to do the same. I believe in cases like this, capital punishment is necessary.
Yes. The material is compelling and brings up a lot of issues I am interested in learning about so I can learn how to stop it.
We must engage with our world. Take the time to learn more about the women in this world and how you can help take a step toward human rights for the 3.3 billion women on this planet.