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Why You Should Read Half the Sky



“There are over 100 million women in the world missing today,” whether it is through the sex trade, kidnapping and abduction, or just being unaccounted for. Through reading the nonfiction journalist piece, Half the Sky, I really became aware of why feminism is truly needed around the world. Written by two Pulitzer Prize winning journalists, Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky follows the couple around the world and recounts the tragic oppression against women. This novel supplies the readers with loads of statistics linked into the stories of women, which really keeps the reader interested and informed.

Throughout the journey, the couple meets many women who have undergone huge obstacles in their life, some made it and others did not. This book covers the topics of the sex trade, genital mutilation, rape, child marriage, childbirth mortality, and other sensitive topics related to the oppression of women, so make sure to be careful in case it might trigger you. As horrible as these topics are, they are an everyday reality to women around the world. By reading the accounts of women who had been through these awful situations, it makes the reader open a blind eye to topics that the media ignores and forces them to reflect.

This nonfiction piece does a wonderful job of making sure that every time a woman’s story is told there is a section after it explaining what you as a reader can do to help the women in these situations. There is an appendix at the end of the book that has all of the organizations and their websites listed so you can check them out yourself and see what you can personally do to help.

My favorite aspect of this novel is the fact that it shows how women in these situations took their hardships and used them to help other women in their same place. It just shows how detrimental it is to educate women and fight against the oppression of women worldwide. This also means not belittling the problems women face in first world countries because they could possibly “have it worse”. Half the Sky does an incredible job of explaining how the entire world needs to improve, not just these third world countries.

If you are interested in picking up a new nonfiction novel or a book in general, I wholeheartedly recommend Half the Sky to be your next read. The reading level is a high school (11th-12th grade) level, so it is perfect for our age group. If you are not a big reader, there is also a documentary of it (also called Half the Sky) made through PBS. By connecting yourself to these women’s stories, it really helps make you more aware and educated on feminism and what you can do to help. So please, read Half the Sky.

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Zoe Levine is 17 years old from Erie, Pennsylvania. She is currently a student in 11th grade at McDowell High School. Her main passions are intersectional feminism, writing, music, watching TV and movies, reading, and journalism. She is president of her synagogue’s youth group and president of a local volunteer organization. She is involved with her school’s performing arts program, Speech & Debate, Mock Trial, Model UN, Exposure (tolerance activity), and Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science. Outside of school she has a job at a local farmer’s market and travels for Reform Jewish conferences. You can follow her multiple social media platforms including YouTube: sunflowerzoe15, Instagram: @xzoelevine, and Twitter: @xzoelevine

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Zoe Levine is an eighteen year old senior at McDowell High School in Erie, Pennsylvania. She participates in Mock Trial, Model UN (as president), Key Club, Vocal Ensemble, International Thespians Society, and Exposure (as social media coordinator). She is also president of her Jewish Youth Group, president of a youth volunteering program, and vice president of French Club. She works at a local farmer's market and as a Teaching Assistant at her synagogue. In her free time she loves to travel, write, read, watch TV and movies, and listen to music. She is a feminist and would love to pursue journalism. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @xzoelevine, VSCO at, and goodreads at You can reach her at for business inquiries.


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