Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Amazing the stories but who's the audience?

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was actually debating between 3 and 4 stars - I really did enjoy the book and thought it was powerful and many of the stories are so well described, but towards to the end I started to feel uncomfortable in the ways to resolve these issues. For example, he talks about the importance of using a bottom-up approach and then he gives the example of Heifer International and how it was a foreign woman who changed the life of a Zimbabwean who went to the US to get her education and that was a success story.... Also supporting the Mexico program Oportunidades as an exemplary model where I have observed in person that it's not the case in the state of Chiapas, makes me start questioning the credibility of some of his case studies.

Nevertheless, I was very engaged with the book and my heart went out to so many of those stories. Just when I thought I could sit down and read some pages before going to sleep I read a page of a horrific gang-rape case... I also cried on the MUNI multiple times reading this book...

Great book to discuss about, for sure!

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Meet incredible women from around the world

Our next book for March will celebrate International Women's Month by reading Half the Sky - Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women worldwide by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl DuWann. We'll be meeting on Sunday March 28 at 2pm - our next coffeeshop will be Cafe Abir in the NOPA neighborhood. 

Here's a book summary:
New York Times columnist Kristoff and his wife, WuDunn, a former Times reporter, make a brilliantly argued case for investing in the health and autonomy of women worldwide. More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century, they write, detailing the rampant gendercide in the developing world, particularly in India and Pakistan. The authors reveal local women to be the most effective change agents.

I just found out that this book has a long waiting list at the Library - so here are some options:
1) You can read the New York Times magazine that featured this book at the following link:
2) You can read the book online through Borders website at the following link: - click on "Look Inside"
3) If you're willing to purchase the book - check out Green Apples or go to BookSmith, which gives 15% discount when you say you're a WOW book club member

Books to read in the future:
April - Spirit catches you - Anna Fadiman
Next Month - The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingslover

Impressed with the power of a young Afghan woman

We were all in awe of an incredible young woman living in a place where women don't have freedom of speech and can be killed for it - and yet we discover the story of someone who has overcome incredible odds to speak about women's rights in Afghanistan. We are all surprised how she is still alive.

We valued how much her parent's support has been key to maximizing her potential to become such an empowered woman from the moment she decided to return to Afghanistan from a refugee camp to lead education program underground for women. 

She has the support of her community to represent them at the parliament level and it was insightful for us to read how courageous and beautiful the community is. We don't usually get to hear how active and brave the Afghan people are when we read about Afghanistan in the US newspaper. 

We hope to support her and other women who are fearless in voicing out injustices around the world - we all left inspired to do something!