Promoting gender equality is crucial to combating global poverty, a point Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn make in their new book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Millions of women and girls in developing countries die, are killed, or suffer brutality—because they are female. The authors, who share a marriage and a Pulitzer for their reporting for The New York Times, relate stories of horrific abuse—sex trafficking, honor killings, mass rape, maternal mortality—but also of terrific courage and resilience. Sojourners associate editor Molly Marsh spoke with them about their work.
Molly Marsh: I was struck by the story of Nick at the India/Nepal border, where guards were assigned to stop the smuggling of goods such as pirated DVDs, yet no one is stopping the stream of Nepali girls being trafficked into India. The guard you spoke to essentially said, “Well, this is the way it is. Plus, young men need a sexual outlet until they get married.” That story captured what I think underlies all of the issues you talk about—that females are somehow less important, less human.
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