By Jennifer Wendel
“Women hold up half the sky,” says the ancient Chinese proverb off of which New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof based his most recent book, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.” On Tuesday May 3, Kristof will speak about his new book and the movement it sparked at 7 p.m. in Dalton Theater.
Kristof, the second annual keynote speaker hosted by the Arcus Center for Social Justice, will speak about empowering the world. His concept is empowering women by increasing schooling, fighting poverty, and protecting their rights worldwide. Women must be integrated into global solutions for a better world instead of being viewed as a burden or problem.
According to Arcus Center Program Coordinator, Andrew Tyner, “[Kristof is] somebody who has brought so many stories to life that would have otherwise not been brought to light. [He] has catalyzed the resistance to some serious injustices.” Kristof’s work helps show others that “social justice leaders are more than just non-profits,” said Tyner.
“To me, I think he represents a political consciousness about what is going on around the world,” said Donna Lartigue, Associate Director of the Arcus Center. “His book really talks about the whole notion of global violence and oppression, particularly against women, and has really lifted a consciousness around that.”
That consciousness has taken the form of the “Half the Sky Movement” that grew from Kristof’s 2009 best-seller. The movement aims to help women, particularly in developing countries, by freeing them of oppression of all kinds, from sex-trafficking to male violence to being generally ousted from important social services like health care. “It’s about how can people help support creating change, [and] the value and empowerment of women to really create community for not only themselves, but for others,” said Lartigue.
All 500 tickets for the event have sold out, equally divided between K students, faculty, and community members.