Tag Archives: Kristof

Half The Sky

  • By Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Introduction Overview:

Without money people will give anything a try, but not all at once. This chapter follows the story of a woman who needed money for her family. Originally she traveled with friends to a dishwashing job in the next country over. Instead they were taken to a brothel and told they could only leave if they worked of their ‘debt owed’. When she refused she was beaten, drugged (it made her lethargic and compliant) or threatened with death. She was a slave, she would never be able to leave.

The girls were kept naked as to dissuade running away or keeping tips. They were locked in to the apartment and underfed to keep their weight down. They escaped inching over a 12 foot long board only five inches wide, reaching to the neighboring apartment building. She was caught and put in jail for illegal immigration for a year. She was then sold to another human trafficker and another brothel.

In the 1980s, women’s issues were a fringe issue, not taken as seriously as nuclear nonproliferation. One of the first issues was the killing of female fetus’ for china’s ‘one child’ policy and its preference for male children.

  • 1991: 39,000 girls die every year within their first year of life due to medical neglect.
  • Every 2 hours a bride is burned in India because their dowery was insufficient or their husbands want to remarry.

“When the government is not directly involved, people shrug” Journalists are good at covering events that happen on a particular day, not something that happens every day (humans are not good at recognizing slow change, we are prone to notice sudden actions and events).

  • Less than 1% of US foreign aid is designated towards women and girls.

Amartya Sen, a nobel winning economist: Women live longer than men and so there are more females than males. But in unequal countries there are less females than males, thus they must be killed by unnatural means. (around 2 million girls disappear each year).

In the west there is violence and unequal sports teams while in other countries but in other countries gender discrimination leads to death.

  • Girls in india (age 1-5) are 50% more likely to die from medical neglect, averaging to a death every 4 minutes.
  • More girls have been killed in the last 50 years than men were killed in all the battles of the 20th century, simply because they were female.

In the 19th century the moral challenge was slavery, in the 20th totalitarianism, in the 21st it will be gender equality.

Women are a great resource  and opportunity and have just as much if not more economic value than men. They are the solution to gender equality.

  • 80% of the assembly employees in coastal China are women.
  • 70% of manufacturing in East Asia is female.
  • they also get paid less then their male counterparts.
  • Women tend to save for the education of relatives and saved more money.
  • Laurence Summers, Chief Economist of the World Bank: girls education is the highest return on investment in the developing world.
  • Education of girls and gender equality leads to less poverty, the women’s children and their communities, reduces infant mortality, and increases these effects as their children grow up and build upon accomplishments.
  • Women’s participation can disempower terrorists

The Book will focus on 3 things:

  • Sex trafficking and forced prostitution
  • Gender based violence: including honor killings, mass rape, genital cutting (Genital Female Mutilation)
  • Maternal mortality: kills one woman a minute

Do not accept these customs as just ‘the way things are’ in a different culture or country.

I think they can be changed from both grass roots efforts of micro-loans and mass communication campaigns to change social norms (best if providing a modified routine instead of outright banning a ceremony in some cases). Or from the top down and shaming governments to take action and enforce laws and punish despicable deeds.

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