MOUNT VERNON — “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn is the featured item for the Adult Book Discussion on Tuesday, March 15, at 7 p.m. at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, 201 N. Mulberry St., Mount Vernon.
An ancient Chinese proverb states that women hold up half the sky. Kristof, a New York Times columnist, and his wife, WuDunn, a former foreign correspondent who now works independently on multimedia projects involving women’s issues, make a compelling case that what afflicts most women across our world is nothing less than “gendercide.”
They tell how women are promised work, then sold into sexual slavery and imprisonment, while authorities turn a blind eye. They tell how these women are beaten and raped and drugged if they try to resist the men who have bought them. They tell how many women contract AIDS from forced sex work without protection, and die in their 20s; and how returning them to their families and normal life is complicated (if not rendered impossible) by shame and addiction.
They describe how families and states fail to invest in education and health care for women, so that girls who could be an economic asset to their families and countries instead end up controlled by and dependent on male relatives, undernourished and often dead at a young age from preventable diseases.
The point if forcefully made: The problem here is the invisibility of the oppression, the silence and powerlessness of the humiliated and the uneducated, and the indifference of the unknowing world. But this indifference can be turned around, and everyone is invited to come and discuss how.
The discussion will be led by Sharon Holdren.
Copies of “Half the Sky” are available to be checked out at the public library and may be purchased from Paragraphs Bookstore, 105 S. Main St.; or Colonial Book Shop and Kid’s Shelf, 521 S. Main St., Mount Vernon.
The Book Discussions, sponsored by the Adult Services Department of the public library, are free and open to the public.
Refreshments will be served.
For more information call 392-2665, ext. 230.
Published on March 10, 2011