Throughout history, women have been subjected to varying degree of oppression. They have been denied the rights to express themselves while being viewed as properties. Despite the progress achieved towards ending women oppression and achieving gender equality, it is devastating that millions of women across the globe continue to be subjected to various forms of oppression. The book Half the Sky by Nicolas Kristof and Sheryll WuDunn highlight the social inequalities subjected to women in various parts of the world. The authors bring out the injustices and oppression subjected to women in disguise of culture and traditions. They achieve this by exposing cultural and legal inequalities by use of personal stories that selected women to undergo. There is an emphasis on issues such as mass rape, maternal mortality, gender-based violence, forced prostitution and sex trafficking (Kristof and Dunn 8). Women are also denied the same opportunities as their male counterparts about education which affects them negatively.
Kristof and WuDunn provide horrifying accounts of women subjected to sexual violence and sexual trafficking, domestic abuses, cultural injustices among others. For instance, the case of Mahobouba who hails from western Ethiopia and a victim of gender discrimination illustrate predicaments that women face. In her culture, women do not enjoy the same treatment as men especially when it comes to education. As Kristoff and WuDunn outlines, only about a fourth of children attend school with lack of school uniform and supplies being a major problem. The same fate befell Mahabouba after her aunt failed to educate her simply because she was a girl. This resulted in Mahoubouba ending up as a servant and thus quashing her dreams of getting education and freeing herself from the cultural bondage of oppression. Mahobouba case is one of the plight facing millions of women worldwide. Concerted efforts from human rights and the different governments are needed to help eliminate such vies which promote injustices towards women.
Various organizations across the world have stepped in to try and end women oppression. From the book Half the Sky, the work of the two organizations is helping oppressed women stood. HEAL Africa and Edna Adan Maternity hospital organizations have put considerable effort and resources to provide medical care to women subjected to inadequate health care and sexual violence. HEAL Africa, which is a charitable organization based in Congo, has been assisting women subjected to sexual violence and lack of maternal care. As the Authors point out, there is a high prevalence of sexual violence against women in Congo. In particular, soldiers have been responsible for inflicting sexual violence and rape upon women and young girls. HEAL Africa runs a non-profit hospital which attends to rape victims and offers treatment for bladder and fistula. The success of organizations such as HEAL Africa calls for other organizations to join the suit in assisting victims of sexual violence while ending oppression against women.
Focus on women education and empowerment could go a long way towards ending women oppression across the globe. Kristof and WuDunn have pointed the plight facing young girls in their pursuit for education. Using the case of the Chinese girl Dai Manju, the authors indicate how poverty forced her to drop out of school. Through donations and scholarship organized by Kristof, Danju managed to continue with her studies eventually managing to graduate as an accountant (Kristof and WuDunn 215). Danju eventually managed to secure a job as a factory accountant and improved the living standards of her family. Her case motivated other organizations to spearhead girls' education which impacted positively regarding the economic and social status of the communities. Such cases demonstrate the impact of educating young girls towards uplifting their living standards, empowering women to impact positively on the society and giving them the ability to fight oppression.
However, some challenges continue to limit women literacy. This includes cultural and traditions which do not promote girl's education, poverty, lack of access to hygiene among others (Manjirekar 4577). As Kristof highlights, improving girl's access to hygiene products could help to minimize absenteeism among school goings girls. Girls in Africa often lack access to sanitary pads, and this has been a major cause of school absenteeism. Some organizations have taken the important step of providing the girls with access to sanitation and has been observed to increase school attendance. Other measures to help improve attendance include providing deworming for school girls which according to Kristoff has been observed to increase attendance for school girls in Kenya. Such measures can play a vital role towards women empowerment and thereby reduce the rate of oppression towards women.
The essence of educating women cannot be understated. It is well known that educated mothers contribute positively towards the education of their children particularly the girls. Educated mothers are better suited to understand the health, educational, and other needs of their children. Household standards are set to improve for societies which embrace women education. Since education opens up opportunities for young women, there is increased employment as demonstrated by the Danju case. Women have an increased ability to start and run business which implies economic prosperity and independence. For instance, a study in Kenya showed that educated female farmers are exceeding their male counterparts by twenty percent of the output (King and Winthrop 7). King and Winthrop contend that there is the substantial economic benefit of attained with increased schooling for girls. With increased economic prosperity and independence, women can be able to fight oppression which emanates as a result of poverty.
There are additional benefits of increasing the enrollment of girls to school in addition to improving the quality of education provided. With increased education, women can take up important and senior leadership positions in areas including governance and entrepreneurship. Having a prominent role in leadership will give a voice to advocate for their rights (King and Winthrop 7). Consequently, educated women will be able to stand up against oppression, domestic abuse, and gender-based violence having an improved awareness of their legal rights protecting them against such abuses. Educated mothers can appreciate the essence of educating their daughters in addition to being able to protect them against the various forms of oppression. Nonetheless, it is essential to educate girls simply for their benefit.
In conclusion, it is quite evident as Kristoff and WuDunn discuss, that even in the 21st century, women continue to suffer a different form of oppression. The horrifying accounts of women subjected to sexual violence and trafficking, lack of access to education, and maternal health calls for urgency in helping eliminate such vices. One such step is promoting women education. Advocating for women education will ensure they have a meaningful contribution to the economy while uplifting their social status. Educating women is a major factor towards enhancing their ability to stand up against oppression, discrimination, and injustices. Through education, women can help them to eradicate poverty effectively.
King, Elizabeth and Winthrop, Rebecca. "Today's Challenges for Girls Education." Global Economy & Development (2015): 1-72.
Kristof, Nicholas and Sheryl, WuDunn. "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide." New York. Vintage Books, 2009. Print.
Manjirekar, Nandini. Contempollary. "Challenges to Women's education: Towards an elusive Goal?" Economic and Political Weekly (2003), 4577-4582.
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