A few years ago Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn published a book titled Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.
Half the Sky is a stunning book with gripping stories of women around the world and their plight for freedom. Issues summarized in the book include maternal mortality, sexual exploitation, female genital mutilation, education and workforce participation.
The book also highlights grassroots action and the impact that individuals can have. There is the story of Harper McConnell a young university graduate who volunteers in the Congo and ends up staying and running a school. The authors also encourages volunteering often throughout the book.
Some of the alarming facts stated in the book include:
“It appears that more girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the battles of the twentieth century.”
“The World Health Organization estimates that 536,000 women perished in pregnancy or childbirth in 2005, a toll that has barely budged in thirty years. Child mortality has plunged, longevity has increased but childbirth remains almost as deadly as ever, with one maternal death every minute.”
“One of the most cost-effective ways to increase school attendance is to deworm students… “The average American spends fifty dollars a year to deworm a dog; in Africa, you can deworm a child for fifty cents.””
Interested in volunteering to help the plight of women around the world? Below is just a sampling of some of IVPA’s member programs.
Education: Spend a year teaching with WorldTeach or if you only have a week to volunteer, look at Globe Aware‘s programs
Health: Volunteer to help improve women’s reproductive health with Child Family Health International or work on one of Global Service Corps global health programs.
Women’s Empowerment: ProWorld and Projects Abroad has a number of opportunities in human rights and women’s empowerment.
Microcredit: Assist micro-credit organizations with Cross-Cultural Solutions
Community Development: work with indigenous communities with Global Citizens Network or work to promote education and community based solutions with Amigos de las Americas.