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Let the discussions begin...

Hello Fellow Book Club Members!

It's nearing the end of February, and that means it's time to start discussing "Half the Sky". I think it would be great to have a Skype conference discussion next week. I was thinking that we could do it at 11:45am USA-Pacific time, and then again at 11:45 PM USA-Pacific time on Wed. Feb 24. Please check to see what time that is where you live, and if either of those times are possible for you. I know that many of us are in different time zones, and this is a challenging factor to work with. Please feel free to suggest other times too.

In the meantime, we can begin our discussions here on PulseWire. I will start by asking a few questions. Everyone, please jump in and ask questions and contribute how you like. This is our time to share ideas and great pieces of the book. Here's a few discussion starting questions...

How does "Half the Sky" apply to you as a woman where you live today?

What are some gender issues/obstacles that you experience where you live?

Are they similar to any particular accounts mentioned in "Half the Sky"?

What left the deepest impression on you from this book?

Well, there's just a few questions that I would ask if of you if I spoke with you one on one. This book club has been a blessing in my life in so many ways. You all are the blessing! I look forward to hearing your contributions.


"Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes". Maggie Kuhn


sparkgirl's picture

Half the Sky discussion

Sorry, I won't be able to make the Skype discussion. I would love to hear others thoughts about the book though. Here are some of mine.

"How does "Half the Sky" apply to you as a woman where you live today? "
I live in a rural community in the United States. I don't feel that I face a lot of gender discrimination or missed opportunities because of my gender where I live. Hearing the stories in this book though, I know that I must do something to help other women around the world. If I can only help one woman that will make me very happy.

"What left the deepest impression on you from this book?"
I think the story/life that made the biggest impact on me was the woman who died in labor because her family could not afford the C-Section kit. Even after it was paid for the doctor and his staff left the woman until the next morning (that felt like retribution to me) and so she died. The thought that someone can be in a hospital and dying (I work in the healthcare field) and nobody would do anything about it is horrific to me. The realization that this is not an isolated incident, that women would not be able to deliver their babies, then die of the infection caused by the baby lodged in the birth canal. I had never thought about it before. I mean obviously this must have always happened, but it doesn't need to any more. Tragic.

I would love to hear everyone elses opinions and thoughts!

ellen's picture

Half the Sky discussion

Sorry, I can't make the Skype discussion either. But would love to be involved in future ones.

Darcey's picture

of sisters and mothers

Thank you Jody for keeping us all on top of discussing the book and moving forward :)

I don't have the book in front of me, but want to take the time to comment now before I don't get back on for a couple of days.
I was in tears in so many areas of this book. Frustrated at the complications that can arise because of cultural and political implications...thinking specifically of the girls and women sold into brothels and how at one border it was a bit of a joke....I felt the helplessness of "where do you start" "what can be done?" "what possible difference can I make".... It was great though to see International Justice Mission mentioned, as a former prof of mine is now working for them in Canada, and his daughter is working in one of their Asian offices working to rescue girls and women. The organization has been brought to my attention a few times in the last several months, so it was nice to see a mentione here as well.

The part that completely broke my heart was the neglect, abuse and torment endured by the expectant mothers...the ordeal of travelling to the fistula hospital and being cast out among their families and communities. I myself am expecting our third child in July, and it has been a challenging experience this time, much more than the others so far. I have needed medication for a couple of different reasons during this pregnancy and the exhaustion has been incredible. I can't help but think..where would I be and how would I survive in an environment that is not so kind as the one I am blessed to be in. Thankfully, there has been little issue during actual labours and births, but would I be able to rest during pregnancy as so many of the women are not able to do? How do women who are inclined to have below adequate levels of iron in their systems during pregnancy cope? And the morning sickness?? My heart went out to these, in so many cases, girls....

Honestly, when I read of so many of these accounts several things come to mind. I feel so little and unaccountable for what I personally can contribute..yet feel that any little thing can make a difference like telling others about what is going on...I live in a world where the majority have NO idea of the obstacles that women around the world face. Genital cutting, fistulas, abuse, extreme poverty, AIDS, and on & on can all be little tiny blips on their radar but there is no true understanding, so no true empathy and desire to change lives. I also think what does anything I have to say contribute? Yet, if I am living in a country where I have incredible freedom to speak and move freely and so many other liberties, then to me it leaves no choice but to use that freedom to create freedom for other women. At the end of the day, I do not want the freedom that I have been given to be wasted on me alone.

Once I have the book in front of me, I would love to have more discussions with the rest of you about specific issues in the book.

Did you know that there is a documentary called "Half the Sky"? I had no friend and business partner is going to see it in Toronto next week. Has anyone seen it???

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality."
— John Lennon

Starland's picture

the good stuff

While the stories are tragic, what we focus on expands. So I would like to add that the courage, determination and stamina and hope of these women was magnifacent! Many kudos, too, to those in the NGO's working the "front lines" to help these people. Way to go sisters!

K-lee Starland, Ph.D.

jodelight's picture

in awe


Thank you for your presence here, it truly is a gift. Darcey and Sparkgirl, I agree with you on so many levels about women's issues, and the struggle so many woman face daily. Half the Sky has brought tears to my eyes on many of the stories, and opened my eyes in ways that are beyond words. Often Speechless...However, the point of this discussion is to put it into words. So...

So many sad stories, yet so many stories of hope. I am shocked and in awe of many of the dynamic women in this book, and around the world. I am saddened by the horrors, things that I have rarely even encountered in my life, (including many regarding fistulas, genital cutting, and child bearing). In America, we are often so unaware of the struggle of women around the globe. Not to say we don't care. We do care, and here many of us are, reading and acting and demanding change. The struggle comes in so many shapes and sizes and regions It has been a source of awakening for me. A woman's awakening to my sisters.

I am so blessed in this world with everything I could ever need, that when I read women's accounts of striving to go to school, of fighting the endless forms of oppression, I am in awe. Awe of these women, and of the work that is being done. We have only begun, all of us. To learn, to alter, to move forward, and to strive to change this world.

I know some of you are still waiting to receive the book. We are in no hurry to discuss. This discussion has no time limits. When you receive the book, and when you finish reading, your comments and thoughts will be received the the utmost joy and interest. Everyone's voice is so important, and vital to this Book Club. We are hear to learn and share with each other. It will be a joyous moment to read your responses.

Also, again, Darcey, yes, there is a documentary of "Half the Sky" that will be released on March 4th in select theatres. Here's a post from PuseWire's Global Events:

And here's the link for the event and ticket booking:

Looking forward to hearing more from all of you! Sending love to everyone of you!


hi readers! I'm new here, I just joined World Pulse yesterday and I'm so grateful I did.

This book club looks great, I'm excited to read books with you and to discuss other books we've read.

Regarding "Half the Sky" I got it for free through when I first signed up for a free trial. It was great to listen to it but I felt I missed a lot, so I'm going to read it as soon as I can. For some reason, audio books just don't have the same impact that reading them has; maybe I'm used to listening to my inner voice reading it!

I agree with what many of you have said. I felt a lot of frustration, especially when there were things that could clearly be done but were not just because this person was a woman.

The only criticism I have of the book is that it missed to tell the stories of women in Latin America, who go through similar things but are often ignored because their countries are not doing "as bad" as other developing countries. That has actually inspired me to write a book someday focusing on those women in Latin America which rarely get any attention, but who live under very sexist societies.

Apart from that, the book is absolutely amazing and I can't wait to read it!

I look forward to getting to know you wonderful women, and to learn from you.

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