Because its the holidays (and during the holidays we try to give back), I wanted to recommend this book Half the Sky by New York Times Journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The book is phenomenal, but if you don’t have much time to spare on reading, you can simply watch the documentary on Netflix.
This book describes the global injustices in women’s health and education that result in poverty and disenfranchisement. Most importantly, these two wonderful journalists and social activists don’t just point out the problems - they give a wide variety of solutions. They have a whole index of efficient, inspiring organizations to work with and donate too! Their vision is to see a world of empowered women, and therefore a more empowered and successful world overall. To build this world, they encouraging leaders (like us!) to step forward and 1) help “campaigns to fund girls’ education,” to 2) “iodize salt to prevent mental retardation” (salt deficiency is something we in the Western world never really have to worry about - but it is a huge health problem world wide) and 3) eradicate obstetric fistula problems (internal holes forming from abuse or inadequate maternal health) “and lay the groundwork for a major international assault on maternal mortality.”
For those who know me well, the causes Kristof and WuDunn describe are near and dear to my heart. This is not just because I care deeply about women’s empowerment, but because I believe that by not educating and not caring for half our population (mostly in developing or impoverished countries), we are doing an injustice and a disservice to our entire global population:
"Consider the costs of allowing half a country’s human resources to go untapped. Women and girls cloistered in huts, uneducated, unemployed, and unable to contribute significantly to the world represent a vast seam of human gold that is never mined. The consequence of failing to educate girls is a capacity gap not only in billions of dollars of GNP but also in billions of IQ points." -Kristof & WuDunn
I believe that none of us chose which village or city we were born in; that none of us chose our family circumstance or level of health or education access we can obtain. I believe that we have a responsibility to help others, and especially women, in order to build a better global community in which we can all be proud to contribute our voices and talents to.
Thanks for reading what I’ve had to say - I hope you’ll read Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book to explore all the other organizing and grassroots work being done right now to address these problems. It’s time to act!