Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn is the book that galvanized us to begin iZōsh:Women Investing in Women. This work is a life-changing piece that transports our minds, hearts and souls from not just our physical locale in Michigan, but our first-world mind-set of daily issues and ‘problems’. The authors highlight the issues of slavery, prostitution, sex-trafficking, honor killings, maternal mortality, education, and micro-financing among others. Their goal, throughout the tragic tales enlightening us to global realities, is that “Women aren’t the problem, but the solution. The plight of girls is no more a tragedy than an opportunity.” (xvii) In their own words, through this book, we “undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet with extraordinary women struggling there. Among them is a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth… Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity and, ultimately, hope. They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon. Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part.”http://www.halftheskymovement.org/pages/book) At our next meeting on October 19th, in addition to distributing micro-loans, we look forward to exploring more of what we’ve learned from this book, especially in the latter chapters (11-14) which address the benefits of micro-lending. Additionally, October 1-2, PBS will be airing a two-part documentary of the book; this is a wonderful opportunity to invite friends and neighbors to gather and take part in learning how we, together, can make a difference.

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