By Jess O’Connor

Dialogue is the only way to instigate social change. Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn understood this when they co-authored their book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide in 2009. The book is a series of stories, woven together by carefully crafted argumentation and solidified through factual evidence and extensive research. The married couple wrote the book as a passionate call to arms against the violence and oppression suffered by women in the third world. This book is an essential read for any global citizen.

The book begins with an introduction that discusses why protecting women is so important, as well as why women’s issues aren’t given much attention. WuDunn and Kristof then give us a breakdown of what they think are the most pressing issues: sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality. The rest of the book is divided into these three parts, each part filled with the stories of girls and women who have endured that abuse personally.

About a third of the book is storytelling, and these women don’t just tell tales of sorrow and failure. Many of them have success stories, stories about the trials they’ve faced and how they conquered them.