Summarize chapters 9, 10, 13, and 14 of Half the Sky in two paragraphs. Identify 3–5 points/ideas/images that are important to you. Discuss these points/ideas/images. Explain why they are important to you. Identify questions and comments about the reading.

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Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn focuses on the oppression of women in the developing world and deals with everything from sex trafficking and maternity issues to limits on education and violence against women.

Chapter 9 focuses on issues in Islam. The authors do not think that Islam is inherently anti-woman, but they do acknowledge that women are subject to “systematic abuses” in many Muslim countries. They claim that the culture, rather than the religion, is repressive toward women. The chapter tells about women who are challenging anti-woman attitudes in the Islamic world. It also relates the story of a young Afghan woman named Ellaha who was jailed for her own protection from her family, who were trying to force her into marriage, and the story of Sakena Yacoobi, who founded the Afghan Institute for Learning to help women and children gain access to education.

In chapter 10, the authors turn their attention to China and begin with the story of a young teen who had to drop out of school due to poverty and corruption. The chapter also focuses on the difficulties of finding donors who are willing to contribute to small projects that are not glamorous but can have major benefits.

Chapter 13 looks at the issue of female genital mutilation that occurs in many countries in Africa. The authors provide a rather graphic account to emphasize the horrors of the procedure and discuss how people are trying to halt this painful and often degrading tradition.

Finally, chapter 14 explores the reasons why so many Americans fail to recognize the oppression of women throughout the world. The authors compare the situation to the slave trade in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and argue that people need to become aware of the horrors practiced against women now so they can rise up and stop them, just as the people of the past rose up to stop the slave trade. They end by encouraging their readers to make a stand for women's rights.

Now let's think about some points or ideas or images that might stand out to you. You might be struck by Ellaha sitting in jail for her own protection, for instance, or by a thirteen-year-old girl in China having to quit school. You might be appalled by the practice of female genital mutilation, or you might wonder why more donors don't look for small yet important projects to support. You might even be intrigued by the comparison between women's oppression and the slave trade.

You should reflect on why these images or ideas are important to you. Perhaps you can compare your own experiences to those of the women presented in the book and reflect on how much better you have it. Perhaps your reading reminds you of a situation you know about in your own school or community. Perhaps you simply never knew about these problems before and are horrified that such things are going on in the modern world. You will have to determine this for yourself.

As for questions and comments, you should think about whether there is anything in the reading you don't understand or don't agree with. You may wonder, for instance, why so many women have submitted to genital mutilation without protest, or you might question the validity of the comparison of the oppression of women to the slave trade.

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