I recently began reading Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. I haven’t really gotten that far because I have a tendency to read anything that looks interesting to me, so I am currently reading six books, and a fast progression can be difficult because of this. Like I said, I’m not very far and I am already shocked beyond belief by some of the things mentioned so far. I never realized how bad it is. The book is a collection of of stories that the journalist couple heard about discrimination against females. Some of the cruelties left me with my mouth dropped open in disbelief. In just three chapters I read of men in Pakistan throwing flesh burning acid at their wives for disobeying, nightmarish brothels that forced little girls from their homes and broke their spirits, and of women being burned at the stake for god knows what. Did you know that in developing countries the boys are given preferential treatment as compared to their sisters? If a son is sick, the family will take him to the doctor or hospital, but if a daughter is sick, the parents will wait out the illness to see if it passes. This isn’t even the worst part. Now, with modern technologies such as sonogram coming to the countries, a woman can know earlier if her child is male or female. If it is female, the woman might have an abortion because males are considered more valuable. It’s just horrible that anyone would have to make that choice to give up a child because she is not good enough. It’s horrible that that mother cannot have a baby girl because her family will drown financially without a boy. The demographics of these nations reflect this new custom. Fewer and fewer girls are being born each year, and those who are either die at a young age or are sold/ forced into prostitution.
Reading this book made me sick. It made me disappointed in myself. I have lived a comfortable enough life, but even then I complain. This book motivated me to want to make a difference in gender roles in countries all over the world. It has been determined that the best way to keep horrible stuff like this from happening is to invest in the schools in developing countries. Half the Sky mentions programs that pay girls to go to school to earn money for her family. I think I will find good program like this to give to and maybe it’ll feel like I’m making a difference. I just know that I can’t be content knowing that worldwide, millions of girls are abused everyday. If we don’t do anything, who will?
The biggest issue, I think, is that not enough people are aware of these atrocities. I had no idea about some of the things that are going on. Just knowing and understanding the problems can make a big difference. So dear readers, I will try do my part and I hope that you try to do yours to help those whose voices just aren’t loud enough.