Travel log 11 “Holding up Half the Sky” By Jim Webb Perugia, Italy

As a software engineering major I don’t often have to watch documentaries, and when I do they are in my few english or art classes.  To put it bluntly, I was not looking forward to watching this four-hour documentary called Half the Sky.  But after seeing it I can honestly say it was one of the most informative and heart aching documentaries I have ever seen.  I also went into watching the documentary almost completely blind, I didn’t know anything about it and some of the challenges women face came as a shock to me.

Half the Sky is a film that discusses and shows some of the challenges women and girls face on a daily basis.  The documentary covered ten different countries and gathered stories from all ages of women.  Stories about prostitution, sexual violence, human trafficking, and lack of education to name a few.  I always new places in the world still existed where women were treated well less than their male counterparts but even in the 21st century this is still a global problem.

I think the women that had the most impact on me was Urmi Basu and Ruchira Gupta when they were speaking about forced prostitution in India.  In India there is still the use of a caste system, this essentially means that whatever social class you were born into was the class you would live in forever.  This is not to say that someone born in the lowest caste couldn’t become prime minister but they will never leave their caste and certain jobs are designated for each different caste.  In the movie Urmi talked about empowerment through education, a lot of the girls that are forced into sex trafficking are uneducated and need money to survive.  Without education many women are married off by the time they are sixteen and live as housewives in the same caste and the system would repeat with their children.  This really spoke to me the most because its something I don’t think about as often as I should.  As an engineering major there are not a lot of women, as a software engineer the only girl in my grade switched majors last year.  Even in America there is a small social stigma of women doing health science and nursing and men doing engineering, I feel like this is definitely the case at Quinnipiac.  As a man I can’t fully understand why this is the case but I have definitely seen the media portray of gender specific jobs like nurse, engineer, doctor, and many others.  But I think the only way to break from this is for education to be open to anyone and to push for it.

People in the US are always supporting charities like Red Cross and St. Jude’s because they were all individually affected by that problem.  When my grandmother passed away my mom and aunts made a small scholarship fund to give to a female graduate of Walpole High school.  With all of these charities and the social media hype that goes with them why don’t we ever see anything about ending the sex trafficking in India or the lack of education for women and the majority of developing countries.  I think the charities people do donate to are amazing a very helpful but its hard to donate to something when you weren’t directly affected by the problem.  This is why I think many people should at least watch this documentary, to get some sort of an idea of what woman are going through in other parts of the world.  Just to reiterate the title and a saying, “Women hold up half the sky.”  Women are as equally important as men on earth and should be treated as such.half-the-sky




Are you Vivek?


2 thoughts on “Travel log 11 “Holding up Half the Sky” By Jim Webb Perugia, Italy

  1. Forced prostitution made a really big impression on myself as well. I liked how you were able to stem from the problems in forced prostitution that we may not often see towards gender stereotypes in school and the workforce. It is a big problem that people all over the world are feeling trapped in their lives whether that be from the family they come from or the gender that they identify with. The only way this can stop is if people break away from those stereotypes and push for what they want just like you mentioned educationally.


  2. I had the same reaction after being exposed to “Half the Sky.” I knew that women around the world were being mistreated, but I didn’t realize how terrible and how widespread it was. I was even further impacted after my trip to Indonesia. An announcement on the plane talked about the severity of human trafficking and the repercussions of being involved in the slave trade. I was shocked to hear an announcement like this on an airplane. I think “Half the Sky” was a good start in combating the mistreatment of women around the world, but I also think that there is a lot more work to do in order to provide women with the treatment they deserve. .


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