September 30, 2012

{Half the Sky}

[This post and book excerpt is in honor of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women—the book and the two-part PBS program broadcast in October. This particular excerpt from my upcoming book, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride: How Princess Diana Rescued the Damsel in Distress, is from a section called "Women Attending Women."] 

There are times when we may feel love is not enough, especially when we have to explain some difficult things to our children since television and the Internet bring a volatile, hostile world graphically into our laps. The fears that rise up with the changes in global societies are also bringing increased abuse to women and children around the world. When we learn of these atrocities via the news, documentaries, books and films, it’s hard to know sometimes what to do to help or what to tell our children. During her lifetime, Princess Diana went straight into this fire with open arms to bring her loving energy and to put the world on notice: Women and children will not be denied a voice!

The book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Pulitzer Prize winners (and husband and wife) Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, is a passionate call to arms against what has been called “our era’s most pervasive human rights violation: the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.” Kristof also added: “These kinds of abuses—along with more banal injustices, like slapping a girlfriend or paying women less for their work—arise out of a social context in which women are, often, second-class citizens. That’s a context that religions have helped shape, and not pushed hard to change.” Through stories in their book, the couple shows how a little help can transform the lives of women and girls; they assist us in seeing that “the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential” and they share ways how we can do our part.

from Half the Sky on PBS
Half the Sky also explains—the 2010 book as well as the subsequent PBS special inspired by it two years later—that throughout much of the world “the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population….” Kristof goes on to say that “countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy.” Take this information as your call to arms. It’s so easy to fall into the “but what can I do?” syndrome. Yet, one person can/has changed the world.

That’s one reason I appreciate the life of Princess Diana. Granted she had a spot-lit, high profile, privileged life that few others had or have—certainly not the ‘you and me’ of the world. But what I point to in this book regarding Diana’s impact is that it was made through the heart. Not by what she knew or because she had a perfect and happy life or that she was without faults, but she made a difference with something we all have: the ability to open our heart and take action from there. When we allow the love and compassion that comes from our open heart be our guide, we can rock the world. When we encourage other women to do the same, nothing is impossible.
So “circle up the women-folk” in your world! Connect; share; take action; encourage; love. ~

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