Half the Sky: A Book Review

"Half the Sky is a must-read for all who want a better understanding of the very real, very deadly problems facing women and girls throughout the world."
Half the Sky book cover
Book review of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Half the Sky focuses on sex trafficking, maternal mortality, sexual violence, microfinance and girls’ education, but is careful to emphasize these are not “women’s” issues, but systemic problems that affect everyone. The husband-wife team of Kristof and WuDunn walk readers through accounts of women and girls they’ve encountered throughout the world facing these issues—as well as spotlights on women who are inspiring change and solutions for those problems.

While the book is by no means an easy read, the stories of the women Kristof and WuDunn narrate are alive and compelling. At once educational and inspirational, Half the Sky explores many of the solutions advocates, organizations and governments have attempted as solutions. The authors don’t shy away from criticism of the efforts that have been ineffective at best, or harmful at worst.

Overall, the book is positive in its exploration of the individuals, movements, and groups who
have been successful. Half the Sky is a must-read for all who want a better understanding of the very real, very deadly problems facing women and girls throughout the world. More importantly, the book provides hope in the shape of stories of success, as well as a call to action and a reminder of how far we—womxn—have still to go.

Original Publication: The Flame, 2016