Half The Sky

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Northeastern’s Half the Sky Campus Ambassadors
Noreen Leahy, Jessica Iocca, Sarah Lombardo, Olivia Allen & Cinnamon Bottaro

It is estimated that over 100 million women and girls are ‘missing’ from the global population as a result of gender-based oppression. Issues ranging from sex trafficking to maternal mortality, place not only a disproportionate burden on developing nations, but a disproportionate burden on the advancement of women worldwide.The world faces many social injustices today, but none encompass as many dynamic elements as gender inequality.

As US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton points out in the video below, responsibility for bringing about gender equality sits not only on the shoulders of the developing world but also on the shoulders of nations that have the capacity to push specific policies worldwide.

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Half the Sky—written by New York Times columnist Nick Kristof and his wife, Pulitzer Prize winner Sheryl Wu Dunn—combines the issues of gender inequality with stories of bravery and success. With unbridled optimism, victims and family members from every gut-wrenching story of female genital mutilation stand up to make progress in the fight against such heinous acts. The focus is not solely on injustice—but on the solutions to these problems, as well.

This book is now transformed into a documentary (aired October 1st and 2nd on PBS, and now available for online streaming here through October 8th) that investigates and exposes these topics and issues with prominent female celebrities. Nick Kristof’s travels with Olivia Wilde, America Ferrera, Meg Ryan, Diane Lane, Gabrielle Union, and Eva Mendez to remote regions of the world to experience firsthand the growing epidemic of gender-based violence.

Half the Sky, from the book to the documentary to the social movement, offers a refreshing and inspiring perspective on an ancient problem. It is creating a space for innovation, awareness, and cooperation to complete its mission of “turning oppression into opportunity.”

Watch Join Six Amazing Actresses for an Inspiring Television Event on PBS. See more from Independent Lens.


“Half the Sky” asserts that unlocking the potential of oppressed women around the world is the most promising force for change. Complementing this powerful theme are the featured women from every corner of the planet—many of whom have dedicated their lives to improving conditions for others born into the same unfortunate circumstances as themselves. Kristof and the actresses who accompany him discover that most of the solutions to and relief from gender-based violence and oppression come from the brave actions of women who are products of a disadvantaged environment. Despite the tragic nature of the documentary, viewers are still left with a sense of optimism. They see the tenacity of these women to overcome hardships, provide refuge, and most importantly, to create opportunities for all the women that comprise ‘Half the Sky.’

To learn more about what we at Northeastern are doing in terms of awareness and action, please visit us online at fb.com/NUHalftheSky.



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