Happy International Women’s Day!
Last year as a club we read the Nicholas Kirstof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. This year we wanted to expand on it, and we screened both parts of the documentary based on their work.
It’s heartbreaking to see how many different issues there are for women in the global sphere. They may face sexual violence, maternal mortality and unsafe births, genital mutilation, prostitution… the list goes on. I think, in our society, it’s hard to recognize that these practices are constantly happening throughout the world, because trying to fix these inherent problems is an overwhelming and seemingly unachievable goal. But it isn’t. The people who dedicate their lives to stopping these practices worldwide and empowering women to make their own choices for career paths and family planning were described as forces of nature. These people have seen all sorts of injustice against women, and won’t stand for it anymore. They are making change happen. The change is happening, and it’s spreading through continued education and empowerment of women.
The documentary brought America Fererra, Meg Ryan, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Gabrielle Union, and Olivia Wilde all over the world to examine the problems for themselves. It was interesting to see how these celebrities, who initially don’t necessarily know more about the health issues apart from what they read in Half the Sky, were able to see how drastically different the standard of living is for women everywhere. Some got outraged, some got quiet.
Seeing the documentary showed how big of an impact small (on our part) efforts, like micro financing, could mean to a woman in a bad situation. They stressed how even if it only changes the life of one woman… it changes her life. For her, that’s everything. Her life is all she has.
Get the book here.
Learn about the film here.