Half the Sky, an Amazing Documentary, Comes to PBS and DVD
Watch Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (PBS, Independent Lens, Monday and Tuesday, October 1 and 2, 9-11 p.m.; check local listings) and on a systems and political level you will be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the seemingly-impossible job that needs to be done; on a personal level, you will be devastated by the cruelty, violence, and discrimination practiced against hundreds of millions of women and girls throughout the world, particularly in developing nations.
Many women in America have, at one time or another throughout their lives felt devalued because of their gender. There was a time (and it still happens) that a woman would be ignored by salesmen in an appliance store or car dealership because she was unaccompanied by a “decision-maker”—a man. There are many cultures within the United States where men still do all the talking and arranging even when the subject is of concern to their mates only.
For women to feel they are devalued, though, is a privilege of those who live in a society where they are believed to have value and potential. American women are wage earners, property buyers, child raisers, voters—because they are an economic and social force, they have value. In other parts of the world, women are disposable, expendable, valueless. They live in societies where a husband can murder his wife with impunity, women and young girls are regularly raped and then rejected by their families and communities, education is not “wasted” on women, and girls as young as three-years-old are sold to the sex trade (prostitution, sex-trafficking).
We in developed, industrialized countries think of these things as injustices, but in places like Somaliland and Nairobi, women have no rights—the term “justice” does not apply to them. Half the Sky visits ten countries, exposing conditions that are—at best—inhumane and introducing viewers to activists who are battling the oppression of women, empowering and educating them so they and their children can have better lives.Continued on the next page