Turning Oppresion Into Opportunitiy: The Half The Sky Movement


How many of you have heard of Half the Sky, the book? The movement?

Before I get into the book and the movement, I just want to plant this thought in your mind. What kind of reaction or thought do these terms invoke in you – women’s empowerment, educating women, liberation of the girl, power to the woman? Do you believe in “investing” in the girls of this world?

Have you heard of the girl effect? Nike started this foundation called “The Girl Effect” It’s aim is reduce to poverty in developing nations. How? By INVESTING in girls.

Check out this video: – it is only a 3 minute video. It is fun and informative at the same time. Trust me, you will be happy about the 3 minutes you spent watching it.

Did you know that Goldman Sachs, did a study and came up with “womenomics”. Naturally, the first thought that might come to one’s mind might be… Goldman Sachs?? Did I read that right? It’s a money hungry monster like any other banking, financial institute. Well, of course, there’s a reason behind their studies.. you guessed it right, money 🙂 But the good side of this initiative is that they also take a big step towards educating the masses and investing in women around the world.

According to their study/research, for every dollar invested in a woman, 70 cents goes back into the community/society/economy, whereas for every dollar invested in a man, only 30 cents goes back into the community/society/economy. If you are curious to read more, just search the web for “womenomics” or womenomics goldman sachs”.

Now, going back to Half The Sky, the reason I am writing about it today is that if you’re in the United States, you have an excellent opportunity. Tonight PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) shall be airing a 2 part series on the Half The Sky movement. It airs at 9/8c. Check this website – PBS/halfthesky out for more information

The book: Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, 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. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.

Deeply felt, pragmatic and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.

The movement: The Half the Sky Movement is cutting across platforms to ignite the change needed to put an end to the oppression of women and girls worldwide, the defining issue of our time. Inspired by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book of the same name, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide brings together video, websites, games, blogs and other educational tools to not only raise awareness of women’s issues, but to also provide concrete steps to fight these problems and empower women. Change is possible, and you can be part of the solution.

I’d like to end this post by sending out gratitude to my parents who were wise enough to invest in their daughters (my sister and me). They treated all their children the same and gave them the same opportunities (well at least the ones that really count) 🙂

So, thank you mum and dad, I am what I am because of you guys. and with this note of thanks, I’d also like to mention that every opportunity I get, I try to do my bit for the upliftment of women worldwide, especially in developing countries such as India, where I am from.

Remember, to help out another woman, doesn’t mean you must spend money, there are a lot of different ways in which one can help girls and women in improving their lives.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, your POV on this.

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About One Change At A Time

Me - I just want to spread goodness and happiness... one good deed at a time.
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6 Responses to Turning Oppresion Into Opportunitiy: The Half The Sky Movement

  1. ahmedrd says:

    This video handles this subject in a very simplictic and perhaps convoluted manner. The age of marriage seems to differ in different societies based purely on cultural norms. What seems proper in a certain culture may be different in another culture, and this is no argument in favor of younger age marriage but rather highlighting the cultural differences that some close-minded and arrogant thinkers fail to understand. The video implies that marriage at a younger age may lead women into a wrong path.. I see no such relationship. In fact, in some societies where marriage at a younger age is encouraged usually the husband will bear all the financial responsibilities of the family. Thus going the wrong direction may be due to a totally different set of conditions including economy and education. Also, there is no link between marriage and lack of education, as the lady can get married at a younger age and still contniue her education. It all depends on the culture and the supporting ecosystem. Thus, the failures in some cultures to have a good society is in fact due to other factors.

    The cultural differences may imply different worldviews as well, where in come cultures the family is the center of the society whereas in others it is the individual. The argument about expolitation and contribution to societs will also vary based on this worldview. For example, for family-centered cultures it can be argued that a woman’s contribution to society is through building a healthy family and raising good children that would contrbute further to the society. Another argument is that in individual-centered societies the woman is actually exploited whether she is married or not. If she is married she is stil taking a more active role in the house than the man while doing the same work that the husband is doing outside the house. Thus the husband would be exploiting his wife in this respect – unless he exactly does the same chores that the wife would do at home which is practically impossible. If she is not married, then in most cases, in individual-centered socieites, the end result is a a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship in which there is no contribution to society without having children, or having children who may face hardships later in their life. What’s worse is actually the woman is getting exploited in this case without even realizing it, as she is giving a lot to her boyfriend without much in return. There is no actual commitment on his side and he does not bear any specific responsibilities for his girlfriend as a husband does for his wife.

    Hopefully, this comment gives a different perspective that the world is not so simple as some might like to think, and simplifiction can sometimes be either due to cultural ignorance or arrogance or both.

    • Ankur Jalota says:

      Your 1st paragraph can be summed up as correlation != causation. It’s logical, but theoretical.

      Your 2nd paragraph is defensive.

      No part of your post goes towards helping to improve the situation of violence/discrimination against women.

  2. Thanks for your comments, but you must keep in mind that this video is not addressing or talking about cultural differences or practices across the globe. It doesn’t name any cultures or countries.

    It is in fact talking about the plight of girls in many backward thinking villages in developing nations, many girls are sold off under the false pretext of marriage. Did you know that even now in India many villages are so poor and parents consider it a shame to have a girl child born. So if the girl doesn’t die before she is a teenager, she is married off, not necessarily to a nice man. A lot of times the reason for marrying her off is one of two reasons – money or get rid of the girl child.

    I hope this gives you a clearer picture of the premises on which this video is based. Not culture, just poverty driven and backward thinking situations in which a girl child is not considered as an equal to a boy child.

  3. ahmedrd says:

    Thank you for your clarification as it shed a different light on the situation. In fact as you put this explanation you reminded me of two verses in the Quran condemning similar behaviors that were happening in pre-Islamic Arabia and were completely irradicated just by these two verses ““When the infant girl, buried alive, is asked for what crime she was slain.” You can read the explanation of these verses in my blog. My previous comment was also adding another perspective to other forms of exploitation of girls. I hope both these comments provide a positive contribution in elevating the status of girls and women across the globe.

  4. Hanna says:

    Yes, everyone must have the same chance to elevate themselves in knowledge and skill to increase the quality of a society. Mothers are the first educators of the next generation, so don’t rule them out :).

  5. frizztext says:

    you’ve written an important article on women’s liberation!
    greetings by
    http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/emancipation-far-away/

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