Have you been inspired by your own child? And as a woman and mother, especially by your own daughter(s)? Has she taught you something that you didn’t realise you needed to know?
A couple of months back, my then 11 year old daughter brought home a book that has only reinforced the idea of my life’s mission. She read that book within 2 days, after school was over. She then told me about that book saying, “Mum, if you love what you do helping women, you need to read this book!”
That book is “Half the Sky” by Nicholas D.Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. A book that I’ve been reading with much difficulty, with tears flowing freely at every page I turned. How can it not be a difficult book to read when the subject matter is so close to my heart.
This book subtitle is “Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide”. Yes, this book talks freely and interviewed women who have been oppressed, whether taken by force into sexual slavery, to cultural oppression to economic exploitation, and how they have risen above it all, to become a success in their own right.
The book started off with the story of a Cambodian girl sold by force into sexual slavery right here in my city of abode, Kuala Lumpur and into other issues like how Islam has been accused of being a religion that oppresses its female followers. All the facts, gruesome details and arguments are in there for the wise reader to read and take stock and reflect.
What got me was the way these girls and women told their stories. Apparently, they were stoic, no more emotions left from their very hard past. I know as a professional, it is not easy to just get over a painful experience to come out stronger the other side.
I could quote so many passages in that book that will bring tears to any one reading, yes, even males with heart! But I challenge you to go to your local library/Amazon/bookstore and get this book.
I asked my daughter more about how she came to borrowing this book. I guess I’m proud that I’ve instilled the love of reading to my own child and even more, reading lots of non-fiction books, especially genres like this. She apparently came by this book at my favourite section in her school library (yes, parents are allowed to borrow books at her school library). I asked her was it easy for her to read this book as it was for me. She said NOT. It was tough reading the hardships, especially the sexual oppresion, these women have gone through. Some parents may be alarmed that a young impressionable girl of 11 is reading tough issues like these. I’m just proud that we can share our opinions and discuss what we can do and how lucky her life is, to be born where she was born.
My life’s mission is to empower impoverished women in my surrounding community and one way is through education. Education will set you free! And my own daughter has educated me to these authors who are themselves aid workers. The next step is to find a way to support their work.
So when you’ve done reading this book, please come back and tell me how it has changed your life and your thoughts. I’m curious to know if it makes you want to do something different for someone you’ve never met, yet you know are facing adversary every day.
To my daughter whom I’ve always taught about being an emphatic person, thank you for recommending this book to mummy and reaffirming to me that the world hasn’t changed much in terms of women’s status and we have much work to do.