TL 11 “Holding Up Half the Sky” by Kaitlyn Shortell- Paris, France

I can confidently say Half the Sky was one of the most gut-wrenching, yet informative documentaries I have ever seen in my life. If I were to try and discuss this with family and friends, I feel like the only thing I would be able to say is that it is just a movie that everyone should see. I would tell them that it is a film that openly discussed the challenges that women and girls face, that have been completely stifled for generations, the even call it “the moral challenge of this century”. The overall message that I would say comes from Half the Sky, is that we need to look at society as a whole and what we can do to engage, educate, and motivate people to make a difference. This includes women and their role, across the globe, and unfortunately there is a large percentage of women who are oppressed in so many different ways. Underlying this message, I think there is a message, reminding us how important it is to inform ourselves of things that are going on around us that we don’t always “see”. I don’t know if there is one story that impacted me more than another, on some level I felt I connected with them all just in the simple fact that I am a woman too. But at the same time, any man should feel he same connection to an extent because all of these women are people, just like they are. For me, I think the story that impacted me the most personally, was the topic of Intergenerational Prostitution. If I think about how important my family has been in encouraging me to strive to do the best that I can to get where I am today academically and personally, I realize how essential their support was. In this segment, one of the moms was actually arguing with the woman who started the school there, saying she did not want her daughter to go to school. I cannot imagine my own mother keeping me from getting a primary education. This was essentially leaving her daughter with no other option but to continue in her footsteps into prostitution because that is all this little girl would know. It was a very intense conversation, and it was crazy to see this woman advocating for this young girl to her own mother. Luckily, America Ferrera, Nicholas Kristof, and the woman who owned the school were able to convince the mother. But, not to long after, the mother said they were moving away to live with her father, and she would be pulling her daughter from the school. It was almost guaranteed she would end up in prostitution like the other women in her family, but the little girl seemed to have not much of a reaction. In the second part of the movie, at the Edna Adan hospital we learned about how the hospital came to be and the work that Edna did there. Her mission was to teach enough midwives how to practice, so that there was at least one in every surrounding village, to increase the maternal mortality rate. I think this particular story impacted me, because I felt of all the stories I heard, this was the one that I could actually make a positive contribution in with my field of study in Health Science, and my career path. There is an organization that has had my attention for years, called Doctors without Borders. They travel to countries mostly in Africa who are lacking in medical attention. It has always been a dream of mine to go and work with this organization after I graduate for a year or two. I don’t know if it’s the most practical, but if I could go to this hospital and help educate women to be midwives I would be pretty happy to be part of changing those statistics.

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2 thoughts on “TL 11 “Holding Up Half the Sky” by Kaitlyn Shortell- Paris, France

  1. Kait, after watching this video I also felt the immediate desire to go to these places and help. I am also going into the medical field, so I know that my skills will absolutely be able to be put to use in these places. I do not think that it is impractical to dream of going to help in that hospital. People in these places need strong, educated people to go and help by offering their services.

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  2. I read the Half The Sky book, and I, too, couldn’t help but wonder what a man’s take would be on these stories, especially since men are typically the ones victimizing the women. But, as you justly stated in your Travel Log, men and women are people all the same, regardless of their gender. As we have learned through this course, we are all entitled to universal human rights, and they ought to be respected. I also believe that your dream of participating in Doctors Without Borders is not impractical at all! Go for it! I hope to become an elementary school teacher. After my mission trip to Jamaica a few years ago and after my experience teaching English to children here in Italy, the idea of pursuing my dream career in countries that need education the most becomes more and more appealing the more I travel.Yes, it does seem like quite the commitment, especially being abroad. However, it will not only change your life forever, but it will also change the many lives you touch!

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