Women Hold Up Half The Sky

I’ve just read the alarming but also inspiring Half the Sky – it ‘uncovers’ an enormous humanitarian issue that I was only half awake to – previously no one had put all the pieces together for me.  The book documents the injustices and abuse of women in the developing world, with heartbreaking personal stories, but also stories of incredible bravery.  The authors coin a new term – ‘gendercide’ – to label the extent of abuse these women and girls are suffering.  A couple of facts that I am still trying to get to grips with;

-480 protesters were killed in Tiananmen Square but 39,000 baby girls die annually in China due to neglect

– an estimated 3 million women and girls are trafficked as sex slaves, whereas at the peak of the transatlantic slave trade in the 1780’s just under 80,000 slaves were shipped from Africa annually

– women in poor countries are 1000 times more likely to die in childbirth than in the Western world, and far more likely to suffer permanent injuries from childbirth 

What is going on here?  Why aren’t more people enraged – are we so used to double standards that we have become completely numb?  Do we think that abuse of humans rights is excusable on cultural grounds?  Why are problems affecting females treated like side issues?   

Clearly some are still more equal than others. 

Hopefully this book will bring about much-needed change, but in the meanwhile, I’m counting my many blessings as a woman with access to education, health care and legislated equal rights living in a beautiful, peaceful country. 

<strong>George Clooney</strong>

I think it’s impossible to stand by and do nothing after reading Half the Sky. It does what we need most, it bears witness to the sheer cruelty that mankind can do to mankind.

George Clooney


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