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New York Times columnist Kristof and his wife, WuDunn, a former Times reporter, make a brilliantly argued case for investing in the health and autonomy of women worldwide. "More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century," they write, detailing the rampant "gendercide" in the developing world, particularly in India and Pakistan. Far from merely making moral appeals, the authors posit that it is impossible for countries to climb out of poverty if only a fraction of women (9% in Pakistan, for example) participate in the labor force. China's meteoric rise was due to women's economic empowerment: 80% of the factory workers in the Guangdong province are female; six of the 10 richest self-made women in the world are Chinese. The authors reveal local women to be the most effective change agents: "The best role for Americans... isn't holding the microphone at the front of the rally but writing the checks," an assertion they contradict in their unnecessary profiles of American volunteers finding "compensations for the lack of shopping malls and Netflix movies" in making a difference abroad. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Despite an estimated 107 million women and girls missing in the world population due to every form of abuse, from infant neglect to honor killings, gendercide receives none of the coverage and outrage of other human-rights violations, lament these two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists. The husband-and-wife team chronicles the horrific abuses suffered by girls and women: sold into sex slavery, abused and exploited as workers, beaten and killed to protect male honor, and generally denied education, medical attention, and food reserved for boys and men. The authors focus on sex trafficking, gender-based violence (including honor killings and mass rape), and maternal mortality. They also examine the economic forces at work that promise more opportunities, along with required education and resulting autonomy, for female workers and entrepreneurs as developing countries recognize how they waste this valuable resource. Kristof and WuDunn reinforce the truth behind the terrible statistics with passionately reported personal stories of girls and women (including photographs) and efforts to help them, including a final chapter suggesting how readers can help.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2009 Booklist