Here’s a song, “Invisible,” written and performed by Elodie Germain — inspired by Nick and Sheryl’s book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. 

Has Half the Sky Movement inspired you in your artistic endeavors? Check out our Pinterest board (http://bit.ly/19tGSOY) and leave a note in the comments with your own example.

Women hold up half the sky


I’ve been telling everyone who’ll listen recently about an amazing book I read recently - Half The Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

On International Women’s Day I attended an event organised by the indefatiguable social entrepreneur Sinead Mac Manus entitled Enabling Women. At it, Ruthie from the Orchid Project spoke about their work to end Female Genital Cutting (FGC) and referred to Half The Sky as a must read. She was so right. I’m not sure it’s possible to read that book and not be spurred into some kind of action, and it’s been a major part of what inspired me to start this blog (and write my guest post on Candepop).

In it Kristof and WuDunn go into sometimes graphic detail about the lives women lead in parts of Africa and Asia. It describes young women being trafficked into prostitution, violently raped as a weapon of war in the Congo, suffering obstetric fistulas through violence or childbirth, dying while giving birth and living through FGC. It is, at times, bleak and horrifying but if that’s all it was I couldn’t have kept reading and the book wouldn’t have inspired the movement and passion that it has.

The truly wonderful thing about Half The Sky is that it also details the amazing work being done to change things. The writers (Pulitzer prize-winners, no less) clearly believe in grassroots level change and tell story after story of young women who have been helped out of prostitution or who have managed to stay in school and change the course of their lives. While looking at the pitfalls of the traditional aid-based development model, they identify simple solutions to problems that, frankly, I was stunned to find existed at all. For instance, I can honestly say that it had never occurred to me that menstruation could keep girls out of school for up to a week every month. Not cramps or the need to stay home with a hot water bottle and a duvet, but a simple lack of any sanitary products other than a reused, old rag and the fact of only having one pair of underwear. These girls simply can’t risk going to school and potentially having their clothes publicly stained. In fact, even when FemCare (the division of Procter & Gamble who make Tampax and Always pads) tried to give sanitary products to girls, the lack of facilities at the school where the girls could use them, still prevented them from attending. They then went on to build school toilets, and then tackled local taboos around blood disposal by dealing with waste collection and distributing incinerators (for more, see Chapter Ten).

I could go on and on about what I learned from this book, and will refer to it often in coming posts, but for now I’ll just say - read it. It’s hard reading at times and you may need to look away, take a break or even skip a paragraph or two, but that’s just reading it. Imagine living it.

Global education is the key for Human Sex Trafficking prevention.

  1. Prosecuting women and children as prostitutes as criminals diminishes their ability to get out of the cycle. What about the johns, brothel owners and anyone else involved? Why aren’t the men who buy sex criminalized? Why not put their mug on a billboard? SHAME GAME.
  2. In order to keep children out of the sex slavery circuit and used as a commodity in this capitalist context the supply and demand is diminished when opportunities for youth and the poor are increased. An illiterate, poor and vulnerable child is statistically at risk for abuse and neglect.
  3. Sexual business economics: make the supply chain corrupt, boggle the logistics, make it economically unfeasible to operate and reduce the profit margin. 
  4. Naming and shaming countries who harbor predators, sexual tourism and create atmospheres for these industries to prosper.
  5. Consent Education from day 1 with our children
  6. Socializing men and boys to never accept buying another human being for sex or pleasure is okay.

Give back while having fun with Half the Sky Movement: The Game, a game that lets you donate to a number of noble causes just by playing, and helping to raise awareness for the empowerment of women and girls. This game plays out like an interactive storybook that allows users to choose what happens along the way as players travel to different parts of the world. By choosing an approach to activism, players can increase their health, education and economy meters, and move up the ranks from advocate to activist to leader. In the process of learning about social activism and charitable giving, players can make real life donations and continue playing to unlock in-game donations as they advance in the story. 


Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide Trailer (by HalfSkyMovement)

The Half the Sky movement is one of my favorite organizations. They use various platforms “to ignite the change needed to put an end to the oppression of women and girls worldwide, the defining issue of our time” (halfthesky.org). The above video was the trailer to an amazing series that focuses on the most pressing issues that affect millions of girls and women. Some of the issues include: forced prostitution, gender-based violence, sex trafficking  and maternal mortality. 

Shocking statistics:

  • There are 2 million to 3 million prostitutes in India, a significant number of whom entered the sex industry unwillingly
  •  Some studies show that 90% of sex workers’ daughters in India join the profession
  • Around 1,000 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications globally every day (every 90 seconds)
  • Trafficking for sexual exploitation is one of the fastest-growing organizations, crimes, generating $27.8 billion each year.

Sorry for the depressing information. HOWEVER, awareness is key. If you’re reading this blog right now than you’re probably more privileged than these young girls trapped in a brothel receiving 20 clients a day. Right? So with that privilege, I believe it is so important that we do something (anything) to help our fellow people of the world who do not have a chance. 

Maybe it’s not this. But find your niche and make change. Become aware & share!



it only takes a…girl.

Women. Girls. They are the change.

Panel at #halftheskymovement preview with Nicholas Kristof, America Ferrera, and some of the film’s star characters. I was moved by the clips I saw tonight, and I can’t wait to watch the full documentary October 1 and 2, 9-11pm on PBS! (Taken with Instagram)


Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide brings together video, websites, games, blogs and other educational tools to not only raise awareness of women’s issues, but to also provide concrete steps to fight these problems and empower women. Change is possible, and you can be part of the solution.

The series includes a four-hour television series for PBS and international broadcast, shot in 10 countries: Cambodia, Kenya, India, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Liberia and the U.S. Traveling with intrepid reporter Nicholas Kristof and A-list celebrity advocates America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde, the series introduces women and girls who are living under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable — and fighting bravely to change them.

join the movement at halftheskymovement.org!!


Sorority Women. forget what you heard. what you read. what the movies shows. because Sorority Women have potential. and they can change the world at 5,000,000 strong. it could be the best decision of your life.

my passion, where did it come from?

Each day, I think about Circle of Sisterhood and Half the Sky. It’s true…

Just the other day, I began to wonder how this became my passion. I would never classify myself a feminist, a woman warrior. Instead, I look at my life like this…

I grew up in a home and family where sports were apart of life. My father coached my soccer teams, my aunt taught me field hockey. I watched sports with my entire family. Football with Pop. Soccer with my dad. Baseball with my mom and brother. Sports were never seen in my family as a “man’s” territory. NOPE, NEVER. My parents always let me do what I dreamed. They were my #1 supporters, fans. There was never a day in which I grew up thinking, I can’t do that because…well I am a girl. NOPE, NEVER.

So, I’m not a feminist. I’m not a women warrior. Instead, I am a woman who wants every girl to have the life I had. The family and home I had. Because for me…nothing beats it. I was never denied education. Sports. A life! My parents instilled in me a powerful lesson…we are all equal. We all deserve the same RIGHTS.

I remember this story distinctly. My mother wanted me to be an alter server for a while. Why? Because our pastor at the time refused to let girls be alter servers. Well, by the time I reached the appropriate age…girls were allowed. But that is what I learned. We all deserve the same rights and privileges. It should never matter if we are male or female, straight or gay, black or white…hell, be purple because you’re still human.

That’s the life I had. So I guess I see myself as a lucky few women. I have a Bachelor’s degree. Why can’t I help other women domestically and globally receive that same right??

Thank you, Mom & Dad. Because you taught me well. I hope I am making you proud…those lessons when I was younger are making sense now.

VWC & Circle of Sisterhood

It all came down to this. Ginny Carroll came to VWC. The founder of Circle of Sisterhood. The woman.

She is the person who is bringing all sorority women together. ALL women together. How cool right?

Ginny was inspired by Half the Sky. So she started this organization. Targeting sorority women, with the intent to spread the message. The message of change. The messgae that EDUCATION is the answer.

We, as college educated men and women, owe it to these women, girls & boys to provide them an education. It is the only way for our world to change.

Circle of Sisterhood …. let’s change the worl around us. We owe it to our daughters, our sons, our mothers, our sisters, our wives, our husbands…our world.

And maybe, help out my VWC community raise money. $1 will help, but $50 sends a girl to school for an entire year…

Every Penny Counts

THANK YOU. We are the change. We owe it to … ourselves.