“More girls were killed in the last 50 years, precisely because they were girls, than men killed in all the wars in the 20th century. More girls are killed in this routine gendercide in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the 20th century.”
Reading Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn was what really started our club Spring Valley’s Call 2 Action (SVC2A) and consequently this blog. We, the members of SVC2A, strongly suggest everyone read this truly eye opening book. Maybe it’s just because I first read the book as a naïve fifteen year old ninth grader, but it made a huge impact on me. When I was first assigned to read it by my AP Human Geography teacher, I thought it was going to be another one of those horrible if-you-believe-in-yourself-you-can-overcome-anything sort of books you read in middle school.
After reading just the first few pages, I was quickly proven otherwise. Kristof and WuDunn do not spend time with long, maudlin introductions but being the book with a true slap in the face with reality. We are immediately introduced to Rath, a girl who spent a year in a Malaysian prison only to be trafficked into a Thai brothel when she got out. In the book’s introduction Kristof describes a concept that he calls the “Girl Effect”. He sites Amartya Sen, a Nobel prize winning economist, who claims that “More than 100 million women are missing…” These women and girls simply disappear due to gender-based violence and discrimination – the book’s major themes.
The book discusses major issues such as sex trafficking, demographics in developing countries, modern slavery, rape/misogyny, the education of girls, and the role of religion in global societies. The authors explain the various reasons why such heinous human rights violations occur and what their effects are on societies.
The book is full of first hand testimonies of just a handful of the countless number of women and girls who live in such horrible conditions and are brutalized every day. We at SVC2A strongly suggest anyone who wants to broaden their horizons, be aware of what tragedies occur in the world’s darkest places, and help put an end to the oppression of women everywhere, read this book.