I swiped Half the Sky from my mother, who received it as a gift. Kristof and WuDunn report the stories of women in Africa and Asia that are overcoming some really scary stuff. The subject areas are human trafficking, maternal mortality, rape, honor killings and microfinance. So yeah, it might not be for everyone. Here is their web site:
The authors make a point of saying that statistics are not likely to move people, so they tell us the histories of women and their families. It is a call to action and it might be a bit preachy, but it makes some pretty good arguments that the best way to end poverty and empower communities is to educate their girls. Cable TV coming to rural villages helps. It also analyzes the work of many charitable groups and came to the conclusion that the most successful programs are the grassroots programs that are locally owned. Finally, it notes that the best way to start to get involved is to visit these developing countries.
I think I will do that. Over my mother's dead body.
I am happy to say that two groups my family supports are highlighted: Heifer International and Kiva. While our volunteering has been focused very much in our own communities, these are our favorites for making a difference internationally. Maybe I will look into one more.