“Women hold up half the sky”

Today while being a domestic goddess (unwillingly, mind you), I turned on a YouTube channel to have something on in the background as I worked.  I turned on an Oprah episode (I know, how cliche!), and all of a sudden, I stopped working to watch.

It’s an interview with the journalist Nicholas Kristof and his partner, Sheryl WuDunn, about their book: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

I was most struck by this statistic, taken from their book’s foreword:

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. More girls are killed in this routine ‘gendercide’ in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century.

Hearing information like this takes my breath away.

Earlier this week, Jerry and I (along with some friends) attended the Governor General’s lecture that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Bill of Rights.  Michaëlle Jean may be a governmental figurehead as GG, but she’s also an amazing advocate for women and First Nations peoples.  Her talk was inspirational, and I really wished Emma was old enough that I could have taken her along with me to hear such a woman speak.

During the question and answer portion of the talk, the first person to stand and speak was a man who was clearly upset with Jean and the panel of university faculty/students who were advocating for womens’ rights as human rights.  He incoherently rambled a rant that essentially boiled down to a concern that women were attempting to domineer their way in society as a vindictive attempt of establish a place of feminine power over men.

Of course, no one took him seriously. [Jean’s later response to his question was priceless: “domination is destruction — not only that, it’s boring.”]

I’ve had some issues with the whole mens’ rights movement, and while part of me wants to take it seriously (especially when it concerns fathers’ rights), there’s another part of me that thinks all of it is pretty silly, especially when compared to the plight of most women in the world.

I think I need to read this book, and maybe forward it to some of the mens’ rights advocates I know.  *That* could lead to some really interesting conversations over a beer!

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