half the sky

Women continue to be oppressed in various different ways all over the world. Ways that are unfathomable to some of us because of the communities we have grown up in. Lucky!!!

Imagine if you found out you could not go to school anymore because of your gender. Imagine that when you found this out you were only ten years old. Now imagine that the reason you could not go to school anymore was because ‘culture’ had determined that it is time for you to become someone’s wife, or someone was offering your parents a really good chunk of money, they figured sending you to school was not worth missing out on all this money that could eliminate their poverty..

A lot of young girls worldwide are being denied access to education because of the time and culture in which they are born. Aside from this they are facing various other issues of oppression. In the class I am currently taking, facilitated by Tamika Odum (XU Women’s Center center) and Rich Cooper (Underground railroad freedom center) we are learning about issues such as maternal mortality, sex trafficking, gender based violence, economic empowerment, prostitution and access to education. The class is structured around the book and the documentary ‘Half the Sky’ by Nikolas Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn. They highlight various issues of oppression that women face worldwide and how these women are rising above these issues and turning in them into opportunity for other women all over the globe.

I am inspired to first of all be grateful for where I am right now. Fact is, we are where we are now, because someone believed in us. Someone believed that investing time and money into our lives was a worthy cause. Be grateful. Not everyone has that. Secondly, be an agent of change! There are various women out there who are not able to speak up against the oppression they face. Those women need someone to believe in them, and invest time and money into who these women can become for our society.

I am very excited to be able to share everything I have learnt through this class, with the Xavier community on March 14th. We will be hosting a viewing of the documentary to the Xavier community in Kennedy Auditorium (CLC 412) at 7pm.  I encourage Xavier Students and the surrounding community to take a moment to find out about the Half the sky movement. Learn about at least one of these issues of oppression that women face and challenge yourself to take some sort of action. Become an advocate for change. Speak up for that ten year old girl in Cambodia who just got sold into a brothel, or that six year old girl in East Africa who is going to go through FGM because her parents believe that this is what is dictated by culture, or even the young adult American girl who has been trafficked by her relatives ever since she hit puberty.

Not everyone is privileged to have someone believe in them. Please watch the trailer below, and go to their website to learn more about the Half the Sky Movement and learn how YOU can get INVOLVED!

Josephine Lando is a junior here at Xavier University.