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Molly Dickinson

Half the Sky Seminar Prep


Quotes
Rescuing girls from brothels is important, Krisher believes, but the best way to save
them is to prevent them from being trafficked I the first place (17-18).
When more girls scream and protest, when they run away from the brothels, then the
business model of trafficking will be undermined. The traffickers know that, and they
tend to prey on uneducated peasant girls precisely because they are the ones most likely
to obey orders and resign themselves to their fate (47).
Countries like Rwanda and China have shown that governments can nurture women and
girls in ways that boost economic development. In such countries with good governance
and equal opportunities, Western help is often particularly effective.
Reflection
Please write a 1 page, single-spaced, response to the book. Your response should be roughly 1/3
summary and 2/3 critical and/or emotional reaction. You should include direct references and/or
quotes from the novel to support your reaction.

In the novel Half the Sky, we are introduced to a number of personal stories about gender
inequality (and equality) and the discussion of women empowerment. Three important lessons I
took away from this book is that education, government power and speaking out against
injustices are things that can prevent the victimization of women and help everyone prosper.
Written by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky uses stories form women around
the world to educate us about the oppression of women worldwide and to address the common
causes. One of these stories focuses on a program established by a school in Washington to
create and support a girls school in Cambodia. The goal was to create a place where young girls
could go and educated, making sure they wouldnt have to get a job or get into a trafficking
situation. As Bernard Krisher stated, The best way to save them is to prevent them from being
trafficked in the first place- and that means keeping them in school (18).
Another story addresses the value in speaking up against injustices to help women who are being
victimized. A village in India was faced with criminal gang that did terrible things to both men
and women who spoke out against them. However, the people of village gathered together and
were able to defeat this gang, making the strength in numbers phrase ring true. This shows that
speaking out against such injustices lead to a better future.
I found this novel to be very powerful. For me (a white kid born in Colorado) it was hard to read
the graphic parts of this novel and to imagine what the real life impact of this situations were on
the women who saw such acts. But I also felt hope that such situations are disappearing and that

women equality is on the rise. Although I did have trouble relating to the stories in the book, I
felt connected to the ideas of change and the solutions to many of these problems.
One part of the book I felt could be elaborated on more was on page 111, which discussed the
value of sweatshops for young women. I felt that the authors could have stated that having these
shops for women to work isnt enough. The companies that own the shops need to invest in them
more, so the women working in dangerous conditions and less-than-friendly atmosphere could
be paid more and the conditions improved.
Overall, I feel like this is a novel that can create change. If people want to help in some way, they
need only read parts of this book to be introduced to organizations all over the world that helps
with gender inequality.
Questions
-How realistic is it for us to find the root of the problem (17)?
-In the story Learning to Speak Up, hundreds of women took turns to defeat the monster by
stabbing Akku Yadav. His crimes were indeed terrible, but in other cases how can we determine
the morally right course of justice, or is just based on strength in numbers?
-How can the United States learn from the countries of Rwanda and China about empowering
women?
Research
SASO (Sexual Assault Services Organization) is an organization located in Durango, Colorado
with a mission to help those who have been assaulted as well as to educate the public and create
awareness around this issue. SASO provides many services to help those who have been
victimized (for both genders) through hotlines, in-person meetings, consoling, support groups,
etc. I think that this is a good step forward because according to Half the Sky education and
support are both important things when it comes to promoting gender equality.