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Celebrate International Women’s Day with “Half the Sky”

By Ian Haisley

One way you can celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 is to begin reading the book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Late last year, Julie Hindmarsh, a leader in the Women’s Opportunity Network (WON) of Opportunity International, suggested that WON host a “Half the Sky” book reading with members and staff. Here are some of the comments from the ensuing discussion.

“There is hope, even amidst all the evil in the world.” – Sonja Egeland Kelly

“It made me ask: ‘What do I do now with this knowledge?’ There are so many tangible ways to make this situation better. They are small efforts that can make a huge impact. One way is to educate girls since every year of education makes a difference in their lives.”– Eliza Griffith

”Men in the countries where we serve tend to have more opportunities than women do. So I think it is great that Opportunity focuses on women.” – Rob Moll

“The way it is written is fantastic. I loved the stories, but also the statistics which can be used to hold countries accountable.” – Jeff Ross

“Opportunity needs to maintain a focus on providing a career path for women staff to be able to move from lower to middle to upper management.” – Eliza Griffith

“The stories of each of the women are so gripping. (The book) is good for raising awareness and inspiring people to get involved in some way. – Richard Spalholz

 “As a WON member, one of the things I love about Opportunity is its commitment to women who make up about 70% of the poorest of the poor in the developing world. Reading Half the Sky confirmed what we have seen with our own clients. Despite being victims of AIDS, sexual trafficking or social injustice, women find a way to not only persevere to help their families—but to thrive and go on to help others.” – Susan Gillette

In Half the Sky, Kristof and WuDunn state two things that really work to improve the lives of women in the developing world: microfinance and education for girls. How exciting that Opportunity International is doing both—and in a sustainable way that multiplies the impact of its programs.

The Women’s Opportunity Network hopes you will pick up this book today—and invite others to read it. Then consider hosting a discussion about how we can work together to provide microfinance and education to those who need these services the most: women and girls.

Join us in celebrating International Women’s Day by honoring someone on the Global Opportunity Quilt. Help us build the Global Opportunity Quilt and help a woman build a better life for her family. For only $25, you can purchase a patch on the virtual Global Opportunity Quilt. Write a message on the Quilt to declare your commitment to help create a world without poverty.

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