HALF THE SKY: TURNING OPPRESSION INTO OPPORTUNITY FOR WOMEN WORLDWIDE
Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (Vintage Books, 2009) ISBN: 978-307-38709-7
So a couple months ago, giddy with having my first full-time job, but already feeling intellectually understimulated from the lack of university work to avoid doing, I stumbled into that great bookshop on Bourke Street. Near Parliament House with the very aesthetic black and white sign, and crammed full of various works in a style reminiscent of a secondhand bookshop, but where everything is quite new. Difficult to navigate, but a joy to lose yourself in. In my highly suggestible state, one of an armful of books I took home with me was Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky. I hesitated over it for some time, worrying that the book might have a white saviour complex and would thus turn out to be a disappointment[*]. In the end, though, I decided it was easy to read and so if I hated it, it would at least be quickly dealt with.
Half the Sky is what will hopefully be a portrait of humanity at the beginning of the 21st century. Of the world’s people, women are still overwhelmingly more likely to be under-educated, under- or completely unpaid for their work, and face discrimination on every front. In many parts of the world, girls are less likely to be born in the first place[†], and from the moment of their birth are provided less nutrition and less healthcare than boys.