Half the Sky is filled with problems and not just the ones detailed of women across the globe. First off, the writing is poor. Not only were individual sentences poorly phrased, the arrangement of stories and chapters was absolutely terrible. The authors apparently tried to stick to one topic but utterly failed and would jump around even in specific chapters, never seeming to finish a full thought through. The writing was also extremely dry, despite desperately trying to be poetic and impactful. However, the entire book felt like a run-on newspaper/journal article that you simply wanted to end.
The stories detailed in the book are terrible, as too are the statistics. However, I did feel as though the way many of the women were described was odd or even grating, especially as many of the women were indicated to be pretty etc. (does this MATTER?). The individual women you meet you do hope the best for and they do serve as a microcosm for millions of women globally. These stories are probably the only reasons the book is receiving a rating higher than 1 from me.
Another issue with the book is the conflicting messages. Take for instance sweatshops. The authors actual promote sweatshops as a way to include women in the workplace and a step in the right direction. Excuse me? I understand this at an economic level but seriously? This makes my brain hurt. There were many conflicting messages in the book but one of worst was the role of the West. After finishing the book I still do not quite know if Western participation is what women across the globe want as the authors were extremely unclear. We would receive news of a Western women working side by side with women in this nation or that and the positive impact she and others have made. But then we would hear from residents of a given nation saying that Westerners had no right to judge and they did not need our help. Yes, if you are privileged enough to live in the U.S. you should contribute to the greater good globally, but what does this mean? The message is unclear, it seems as though in many places as a Western white woman I would be unwanted as they would perceive me as some white missionary feeling "sorry" for them and encroaching on their lives. Overall, the book ends urging you to contribute money and even time to these causes but throughout the book the message wavers between "Western imperialism imposing opinions on others" to "we need help to get on a better path". Which is it? If a person seeks to help out of the goodness of their heart, will ulterior motives always be suspected? Isn't that a terrible sentiment to have after reading such a book?