Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Warning: This Book May Change Your Life

At Ben's company Christmas party, his boss's wife mentioned a book to me called Half the Sky. She said it was a book about women in third world countries, but little more. I filed it away in my head to read later.

Then last month, I read a book my mom had given me that challenged our preconceived notions of biblical womanhood. One chapter was about oppressed women, and it mentioned Half the Sky. The author included a couple of the stories from Half the Sky, and I was hooked. I went out the next day and bought the book.

Since then, I haven't been able to put the book down. I finished it yesterday, and I want to find more books like it! What's so incredible about this book? 

The book is a chronicle of women across the two-thirds world who have overcome great adversity. They have triumphed where all hope was lost. They have fought monumental battles and won.

Authors Kristof and WuDunn (a married couple) write about their experiences as journalists traveling around the world, telling the stories of women they meet and highlighting women's issues around the world. They focus on three particular issues: sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality. 

I knew very little about these issues before I read the book. I originally appreciated the book for highlighting such serious, and at least to me, fairly unknown issues. As I read further, I realized that an even greater issue was being presented. In my own life, I have been told "a woman's place is in the home" and was encouraged during my childhood to forgo avenues like college in favor of motherhood. As a mother now, I have struggled greatly with my life purpose. This book helped me realize that I do have a greater purpose. I am part of a greater group of women around the world championing women. I can prove that women are more than just a housewife, while championing the role of motherhood. I can be empowered to be and do great things in this world as a woman.

Beyond my personal response, Half the Sky is a call to arms for those of us in the wealthier world. Across the world, women are being killed, raped, oppressed, and so many more things. Through our money, our service, and our prayers, we can make a difference! The book was from a secular perspective, but I believe it is a message straight to the heart of every Christian woman (and man)! We have a responsibility to help our sisters around the world.

My challenge to you is to go out and buy the book! Read it and then do something. What will you do?

1 comment:

  1. Isn't that an amazing book? I read it last June and was wowed. If you're looking for other books on that order -- "good" non-fiction, well written, gripping ... I recommend "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, "Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea" by Barbara Demick,and "It Happened on the Way to War" by Rye Barcott.

    Also good, but not quite in the same family as those: "My Father's Country: Story of a German Family" by Wibke Bruhns and Dave Cullen's "Columbine".

    My oldest nephew is going to be a Human Rights lawyer, and interned at IJM for a time. I was so excited when IJM was mentioned in "Half the Sky"! When I finished the book, I emailed him to see if he'd read it (I was sure he had) and he told me the coolest thing -- when he was running the Veritas Forum at Columbia (it's a space where students come and listen to lectures, debates, etc., on capital T Topics), Nicholas Kristof was one of their guests and that was the first time he'd heard of IJM. I've decided that means my nephew "introduced" Kristof to IJM!

    My one "problem" with Half the Sky was that it was a little overwhelming in terms of ALL the opportunities it lays out. To answer your question, I'm still not sure. But it's on my mind and we continue to support IJM and other anti-trafficking opportunities.