Reaction to Nicholas Kristof: Can We Solve Global Women’s Issues?

On March 1st, Nicholas Kristof came to Quinnipiac University to speak to the students. After reading his book Half The Sky, which is about sex trafficking and discrimination against women, I was very eager to see the man behind the book. Although the book mainly discusses issues in countries within Africa, Asia and the Middle East, it was brought to my attention during his lecture that these issues also occur right here in the United States!

He shared a story of a girl who ran away from her home and met this pimp who persuaded her to join his business in Brooklyn, NY. Kristof used the word “order” to illustrate how these girls are considered merchandise in this industry.

In his book, Nicholas mentioned that the four main global women’s issues are maternal mortality, human trafficking, sexual violence and daily discrimination. He believes that by giving girls an opportunity to become educated, micro finance, family planning and a sense of “empowerment,” these issues can be addressed.

One thing that really stood out to me was his thoughts about solving these global problems. When people are exposed to global problems as horrific as sex trafficking, their automatic response is to want to solve it completely, but sometimes that is not realistic.

Nicholas Kristof realized this and throughout his book he focused on individuals and worked on making a tremendous differences in their lives. Sometimes it’s more beneficial to focus on making a huge difference in one person’s life then trying to fix the global problem as a whole.

I have accepted the fact that I alone will not change all the problems of the world even though I would like to. I have however, realized that in order for a change to be made there must be awareness; and that I can have a part in.

Since reading Half The Sky, I have recommended it to my roommates, friends and family. After reading it themselves they are now aware of what is going on therefore increasing the awareness of such issues around the world. It only takes one person to make a significant difference in someone else’s life, and according to Nicholas Kristof, that is the most meaningful way to make a difference.


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