“Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is a passionate call to arms against our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world. With Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn as our guides, we undertake an odyssey through Africa and Asia to meet with extraordinary women struggling there. Among them is a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth.
Drawing on the breadth of their combined reporting experience, Kristof and WuDunn depict our world with anger, sadness, clarity and, ultimately, hope. They show how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls abroad. That Cambodian girl eventually escaped from her brothel and, with assistance from an aid group, built a thriving retail business that supports her family. The Ethiopian woman had her injuries repaired and in time became a surgeon.
Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.
Deeply felt, pragmatic and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.”
– Half the Sky
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Nicholas D. Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times since November 2001, is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who writes op-ed columns that appear twice a week. In 1990 Mr. Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, until recently also a Times journalist, won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square movement. They were the first married couple to win a Pulitzer for journalism. Mr. Kristof won a second Pulitzer in 2006, for what the judges called “his graphic, deeply reported columns that, at personal risk, focused attention on genocide in Darfur.” Mr. Kristof has also won other prizes including the George Polk award, the Overseas Press Club award, the Michael Kelly award, the Online News Association award, and the American Society of Newspaper Editors award. Mr. Kristof has taken a special interest in Web journalism and was the first blogger on The New York Times Web site; he has a Facebook fan page and a channel on YouTube, as well as more than 1 million followers on Twitter.
In his column, Mr. Kristof was an early opponent of the Iraq war, was among the first to warn that we were losing ground in Afghanistan, and has regularly focused attention on global poverty, health and gender issues, as well as climate change. Since 2004, he has written dozens of columns about Darfur and has visited the region around Darfur eleven times.
Mr. Kristof and Ms. WuDunn are authors of three best-selling books: China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power in 1994; Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia in 2000; and Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide in 2009. Mr. Kristof is also the subject of an HBO documentary executive-produced by Ben Affleck, “Reporter,” and serves on the boards of Harvard University and the American Association of Rhodes Scholars. He has received a number of honorary doctorates and other honors.
Sheryl WuDunn, the first Asian-American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize, is a business executive, lecturer, and best-selling author. Currently, she is a senior managing director with Mid-Market Securities, an investment banking boutique helping growth companies, including those operating in the emerging markets. At MMS, she raises capital for a variety of clients: men and women entrepreneurs in new media, media technology and social enterprise. She was also a Senior Lecturer at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs in fall 2011.
With her husband, Nicholas D. Kristof, she has co-authored two other best-selling books about Asia: Thunder from the East and China Wakes. Ms. WuDunn won a Pulitzer Prize with her husband for covering China, along with the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Lifetime Achievement. She has also won other journalism prizes, including the George Polk Award and Overseas Press Club awards. Ms. WuDunn has also won a White House Project EPIC award, and she has been a judge for the State Department “Secretary’s Innovation Award for Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment.” She has won other awards, including the Asia Women in Business Corporate Leadership Award, the Pearl S. Buck Woman of the Year Award, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Prize, among numerous other awards. In 2011, Newsweek cited Ms. WuDunn as one of the “150 Women Who Shake the World.”
She graduated from Cornell University, where she is a member of the Board of Trustees, a member of the Board’s Finance Committee, a former co-chair of the Board’s Academic Affairs Committee and former member of the $4 billion endowment’s Investment Committee. She earned an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and an M.P.A. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, where she was a member of its Advisory Council. Ms. WuDunn received an honorary doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania and Middlebury College. Ms. WuDunn lectures around the United States and abroad on economic, political and social topics related to women in the developing world, the global economy, China and the emerging markets. Ms. WuDunn has discussed China economic issues on television and radio programs, such as Fox Business News, The Colbert Report, Charlie Rose and NPR, and she has discussed philanthropic issues on programs such as NBC’s Dateline.