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Ascent of Women

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This book is about the final frontier for women: having control over your own body, whether in zones of conflict, in rural villages, on university campuses or in your own kitchen. Recent studies by economists such as Jeffrey Sachs and social scientists such as Isobel Coleman claim that women who gain such control--who are not oppressed--are the key to economic justice and This book is about the final frontier for women: having control over your own body, whether in zones of conflict, in rural villages, on university campuses or in your own kitchen. Recent studies by economists such as Jeffrey Sachs and social scientists such as Isobel Coleman claim that women who gain such control--who are not oppressed--are the key to economic justice and the end to violence in developing countries around the world.      Daughters of the Revolution will describe the perilous journey that brought women to this point. It will tell the dramatic and empowering stories of change-makers and examine the stunning courage, tenacity and wit they are using to alter the status quo. It is the story of a dawning of a new revolution, whose chapters are being written in mud-brick houses in Afghanistan and on Tehrir Square in Cairo; in the forests of the Congo where women still hide from their attackers; and in a shelter in northern Kenya where 160 girls between 3 and 17 are pursuing a historic court case against a government who did not protect them from rape.      Women revolutionaries in Toronto and Nairobi, in Kabul and Caracas, in New York City and Lahore are making history. Women the world over are marching to protest honour killing, polygamy, stoning and a dozen other religiously or culturally sanctified acts of violence. Sally Armstrong will bring us these voices from the barricades, inspiring and brave.


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This book is about the final frontier for women: having control over your own body, whether in zones of conflict, in rural villages, on university campuses or in your own kitchen. Recent studies by economists such as Jeffrey Sachs and social scientists such as Isobel Coleman claim that women who gain such control--who are not oppressed--are the key to economic justice and This book is about the final frontier for women: having control over your own body, whether in zones of conflict, in rural villages, on university campuses or in your own kitchen. Recent studies by economists such as Jeffrey Sachs and social scientists such as Isobel Coleman claim that women who gain such control--who are not oppressed--are the key to economic justice and the end to violence in developing countries around the world.      Daughters of the Revolution will describe the perilous journey that brought women to this point. It will tell the dramatic and empowering stories of change-makers and examine the stunning courage, tenacity and wit they are using to alter the status quo. It is the story of a dawning of a new revolution, whose chapters are being written in mud-brick houses in Afghanistan and on Tehrir Square in Cairo; in the forests of the Congo where women still hide from their attackers; and in a shelter in northern Kenya where 160 girls between 3 and 17 are pursuing a historic court case against a government who did not protect them from rape.      Women revolutionaries in Toronto and Nairobi, in Kabul and Caracas, in New York City and Lahore are making history. Women the world over are marching to protest honour killing, polygamy, stoning and a dozen other religiously or culturally sanctified acts of violence. Sally Armstrong will bring us these voices from the barricades, inspiring and brave.

30 review for Ascent of Women

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Read and was attracted to the book out of my concern about inequality in general and gender inequality in particular. What an eye opener for me! While I thought society has made significant progress around gender equality and women's rights, I learned that we have such a very long way still to go. Brutal violence perpetrated by husbands and religious and cultural leaders against women around the world is staggeringly common and accepted I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Read and was attracted to the book out of my concern about inequality in general and gender inequality in particular. What an eye opener for me! While I thought society has made significant progress around gender equality and women's rights, I learned that we have such a very long way still to go. Brutal violence perpetrated by husbands and religious and cultural leaders against women around the world is staggeringly common and accepted as "the cultural norm." Religions have been hijacked and twisted, teaching believers that unequal treatment of women is ordained as the holy word of their God. Yikes!! Rape as a weapon of war is truly deplorable. While the book explained, at times in gory details, all the terrible and despicable things done to women and girls in the name of God or local, culture norms, it highlighted the growing, persistent and tenacious uprising underway to ensure women and girls around the world achieve the equality and economic opportunity they rightfully deserve as members of the global human community. Using international laws such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, civil rights organizations across the world are taking the legal and moral high road to ensure women have equal access education, healthcare, and freedom from violence and death at the hands of husbands, fathers, uncles, police and marauding soldiers and religious zealots. Another very pragmatic approach employed by these organizations is to inform and educate local and national leaders that when women are engaged, educated and empowered, the local and national economies will improve and prosper. When women are fully represented, societies are more peaceful and stable. In short, as women engage and prosper, so does the economy and this rising tide of prosperity will lift all economic boats. At times this book can be very depressing - the things that are done to women and girls in the name of God is reprehensible. Rape is such an ugly act but it is used in many parts of the world as a weapon of war, of ethnic cleansing or as part of the "ownership" of wives and daughters by their husbands and males family members. Misogyny is such as terrible word but it is embedded in this world. On the positive side, I felt tears of joy for the many teenagers and women in the early twenties who are standing up to the violence, violence that has been perpetrated on many of them personally, to shout out for change and work tirelessly for the girls and women across the world for a better life, free of fear of rape and violence and the promise economic opportunities. We have a very long way to go but the seeds of change have been planted, thanks to women and men who have stood up to the madness and said no more! I highly recommend this book - it is a teaching moment!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Wanda

    This book made my ferocious female heart both hurt and hope. It hurt to be reminded of how many places where women are still second class (or lower) citizens--where they are treated like possessions, rather than as people. I pray to the Goddess that Armstrong is right when she proclaims that the status of women in the world is reaching a tipping point. I gain some hope from the debate about rape in India and the stiff sentences being handed out there. I lose a little hope when I hear that men in E This book made my ferocious female heart both hurt and hope. It hurt to be reminded of how many places where women are still second class (or lower) citizens--where they are treated like possessions, rather than as people. I pray to the Goddess that Armstrong is right when she proclaims that the status of women in the world is reaching a tipping point. I gain some hope from the debate about rape in India and the stiff sentences being handed out there. I lose a little hope when I hear that men in Egypt are trying to stuff women back into traditional roles. I am reminded that I need to be doing work to support the cause of feminism in the world. A useful reminder, when my life is pretty comfortable.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Awe-inspiring, powerful and important. Uprising is something everyone, women and men, need to read. At times it is heartbreaking but it is consistently eye-opening. Although it is full of facts it does not read like a textbook; on the contrary, it is an easy and enthralling read. I won this book through a first reads giveaway and am so thankful that I had an early opportunity to read it. Many of the women's stories are tragic and unimaginable in their cruelty, but Armstrong always follows up with Awe-inspiring, powerful and important. Uprising is something everyone, women and men, need to read. At times it is heartbreaking but it is consistently eye-opening. Although it is full of facts it does not read like a textbook; on the contrary, it is an easy and enthralling read. I won this book through a first reads giveaway and am so thankful that I had an early opportunity to read it. Many of the women's stories are tragic and unimaginable in their cruelty, but Armstrong always follows up with the ways in which things are changing for the better. So even though I was horrified, there was a certain amount of vindication for these women, which provides a kind of light at the end of the tunnel; making it not just a story of destruction but a story of redemption. "Women's rights are human rights belonging to every citizen" and when necessary we must fight so that our sisters everywhere are provided with these rights that can be so easy to take advantage of here in America. We are lucky, but not all women are and it is more important than ever that we come together in support of what is right, so that women the world over can live comfortably and enjoy complete equality with men. I am so thankful for the knowledge this book has provided me with. Having read Uprising I feel more informed and am filled with the overwhelming desire to help in any way that I can. I have every intention of getting involved in some way in the immediate future. Sally Armstrong, you have truly moved me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Calder

    There are very few books I would classify as "must read" for everyone, but this is one of them. Sally Armstrong, a Canadian journalist who has covered women's issues for many years and was one of the first to break the story of the untenable lives of women under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, has written a book that exposes the horror of the treatment of women in many cultures. We in the west have, for the most part, become complacent about the position of women in society, but there are huge There are very few books I would classify as "must read" for everyone, but this is one of them. Sally Armstrong, a Canadian journalist who has covered women's issues for many years and was one of the first to break the story of the untenable lives of women under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, has written a book that exposes the horror of the treatment of women in many cultures. We in the west have, for the most part, become complacent about the position of women in society, but there are huge swaths of the world where women live with fear, abuse, extraordinary violence and poverty on a daily basis. We need to be aware that the battle for acceptance of women as human beings is not over. At the same time, this is a book of hope because Sally seeks to show how the tide is turning, and although some struggles have undergone setbacks others are progressing and showing success. Many of these are driven by individuals, and through the engagement of women who, despite the dangers, understand and take action on the need. Moreover, the world of social media is aiding in the struggle as women share information and grow in understanding that their lives do not have to be the way they are. Sally believes that the effort to place women globally on an equal footing with men is approaching a "tipping point". This is an easy and a hard book to read. Easy because Sally is a journalist and her book flows like a well-written, accessible magazine article with vivid anecdotes mixed in with the hard facts and statistics. It is an extraordinarily difficult book to read because she does not pull any punches when it comes to describing the horrors - such as rape as a tool of war/genocide - of the lives of women in many countries. I found I had to set the book aside several times to gather my emotions. Let's not call it feminism or women's liberation. Those are old words that no longer have cultural resonance or impact. She is talking about human rights - the rights of women around the world to be human. Read it!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Story Circle Book Reviews

    Uprising is an invigorating, eye-opening, tragic yet inspiring look at the status of women in some of the most oppressive countries and cultures in the world. Author Sally Armstrong's premise is simple and compelling—that even in places where women's rights have been severely curtailed, where they have been subjected to violence, rape, genital mutilation, harassment and murder—a new age is dawning. Her 25 years of experience reporting on women's issues worldwide has given her a unique perspectiv Uprising is an invigorating, eye-opening, tragic yet inspiring look at the status of women in some of the most oppressive countries and cultures in the world. Author Sally Armstrong's premise is simple and compelling—that even in places where women's rights have been severely curtailed, where they have been subjected to violence, rape, genital mutilation, harassment and murder—a new age is dawning. Her 25 years of experience reporting on women's issues worldwide has given her a unique perspective and added strength to her claim. Not only have women gained rights to education and political and economic power, but international economists and world leaders are linking economic development, the end to military conflict, and improvements in health directly to a country's treatment of its women. Economist Jeffery Sachs, Armstrong reports, has found a direct correlation between women's status and the economic security of a given nation. Isobel Coleman, Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy, has asserted that "Countries which oppress their women are doomed to be failed states." Hilary Clinton has claimed that "In country after country we have seen women help push peace agreements to the finish line." With world leaders backing women's rights as they have never before, change, Armstrong believes, is at a tipping point. "[N]ow the threads required for serious progress on human rights have started to weave themselves together into a tapestry of change. You want a better economy? Put women to work. Your health system is lagging? Improve maternal and infant health care. War is your problem? Bring women to the negotiating table. Is poverty stuck at unacceptable levels? Ask your women to make the budget." (p. 11) Armstrong identifies two "unlikely factors" spurring this global women's movement: the rise of Islamism that is inspiring Middle Eastern and Asian women to protest the "extreme hijacking" of their religion, and the AIDS epidemic in which African women realized that without change in the attitudes of men toward women, whole villages would die out. Social media, blogging, and the internet are fueling the fire of this gentle but insistent revolution. Women are using these powerful tools to educate, to expose harassment, to shame those responsible, to announce protest actions and to tell their stories. They are fighting the dogma that has argued the oppression of women in some parts of the world that is cultural and therefore unchangeable. New strategies are being employed such as using nations' constitutions and new and existing laws on social justice to hold oppressors accountable and force governments to act. Armstrong's book is densely packed, not only with facts, but with personal histories of women she has interviewed. The result is part textbook, part social commentary, and part women's history. Rather than a straightforward and chronological format, Armstrong uses a spiral structure, organizing chapters by broad subject matter: shame, oppression, cultural factors, poverty, etc. The result can be a bit dizzy and daunting when the same information is repeated in each new context. It isn't light reading. This book takes work, but it is worth the effort, and it has a good index which helps. This is also not a book for the overly sensitive. Armstrong doesn't flinch in her reporting of the shocking details of girls and women gang-raped to death, specifics of genital mutilation so severe young women die in childbirth, girls pushed back into a burning building because they weren't wearing their headscarves, or stoned to death for adultery. Yet ultimately her message is one of optimism and hope. She ends her book with the inspiring story of Noorjahan Akbar, 21 and Anita Haidary, just 19, cofounders of Young Women for Change (YWC) in Kabul, Afghanistan. When Armstrong interviewed Akbar in 2012, the young woman explained that YWC was founded to mobilize the youth. "Sixty-five percent of the population of Afghanistan is under the age of thirty," Akbar noted. "We have never fought a war. We have new ideas. And we want to get rid of those old customs that nobody wants." YWC launched an art contest to create posters championing the organization's causes such as gender equality, women's rights, the participation of women in society and an end to street harassment of girls who, if unaccompanied by male family members, are accosted with sexually explicit comments and even a pinch on the bottom. YWC encourages men to join too. Male and female, they have carried placards to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission calling for women's rights and an end to street harassment. They have established an internet cafe at their headquarters. They have screened a documentary film, "My Voice, My Story," about Anita's personal experiences of harassment followed by a coed discussion of how and why women are targeted and what men and women can do to stop it. We are left with the conviction that Armstrong is right; this is only the beginning. by Lisa Shirah-Hiers for Story Circle Book Reviews reviewing books by, for, and about women

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Everyone needs to read this book. If you are a woman, you need to read this book. If you have a daughter, mother, sister, wife, girlfriend, you need to read this book. If you are a member or follower of the One Billion Rising movement, you need to read this book. If you have ever been made to feel shame for being a woman, you need to read this book. If you ever asked why women think they are unequal, read this book. If you have ever closed your eyes to violence against women because you thought, Everyone needs to read this book. If you are a woman, you need to read this book. If you have a daughter, mother, sister, wife, girlfriend, you need to read this book. If you are a member or follower of the One Billion Rising movement, you need to read this book. If you have ever been made to feel shame for being a woman, you need to read this book. If you ever asked why women think they are unequal, read this book. If you have ever closed your eyes to violence against women because you thought, or were made to feel like it wasn’t your place to intervene, read this book. If you have ever hurled “feminist” at a woman like it’s a slur, read this book. The author Sally Armstrong is a human rights activist and journalist. Uprising is the culmination of her time in the field over the course of her journalism career and a gift to those who might find feminist theory difficult to understand. She speaks with a straightforward voice, has done and lived her research, and knows her facts. It’s hard to face those facts and deny that inequality exists. This kind of violence is still happening. Violence against women is current. It is happening right now. Armstrong talks about the realities of topics such as rape in warfare, marital rape, honor killings, forced child marriages, genital mutilation, poverty, religious scriptures, and cultural traditions on women, regardless of culture or age. Interwoven with these topics, she shares legal action being taken, right now, by women all over the globe, rising up to become a force of change in their worlds. Better still, Armstrong introduces us to the women she has met and interviewed who stand at the front of these waves. We meet people like the 106 daughters of Kenya who had the courage to sue their government for not protecting them against rape, Eva Penavic in Croatia who found the courage to speak when no one else could, the grandmothers of Swaziland who are raising their grandchildren after an entire generation succumbed to AIDS/HIV, the women of Liberia who marched into Ghana and demanded peace, Siffy from the horrors of Congo, Hoda Elsadda of Egypt who returned to help shape her country, and Alaina Podmorrow of British Columbia, a teenage girl who started raising money to hire teachers for the young girls of Afghanistan. Uprising is an accessible read with content that is not always easy to read. But underneath every horror is a rising, and in some cases, a breaking down of walls and a giant push forward. In order to help women, we need to understand what all the women of the world face. We need to be willing to open our eyes. Sally Armstrong breaks your heart with the truth, and then fills the cracks with hope. At the core of this book, for me, were two strong messages. The first one is that, with the advent of globalization, we do not get to hide behind the wall of “that’s not our business.” What we ignore, we allow with our silence, and we become complicit patrons in its development. And this desire for change is not about women versus men. It’s about women AND men standing up against the mistreatment of women. Both genders are born with equal opportunity in the world. It is society and culture that puts up the barriers that divide and oppress. And it’s time to bring them down.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    The book was written more like an article series than a book - I didn't really feel like I was reading more than a long article full of stories. The stories were familiar, some from the news, some from the excessively long introduction (what a monster that was!!), and I didn't feel that the insights were...well...insightful. It was a great book club book, and it made for great conversation; I just really felt like some of that discussion could have been in the book. There was only one side presen The book was written more like an article series than a book - I didn't really feel like I was reading more than a long article full of stories. The stories were familiar, some from the news, some from the excessively long introduction (what a monster that was!!), and I didn't feel that the insights were...well...insightful. It was a great book club book, and it made for great conversation; I just really felt like some of that discussion could have been in the book. There was only one side presented, or if the other side was discussed, it was presented as so patently awful that nobody could possibly see otherwise. Now, obviously, nobody thinks that rape or genital mutilation is a good thing, but since there are still women wearing burkas and hijabs, is it not possible that some of these women want to do it? That maybe not all are being forced? Finally, and most unforgiveable was the fact that there was no real call to arms. It was clearly saying "this is happening", but there was no clear "this is what we can do". It seems to be an opportunity missed. As I said though, it was a great book for a book club, and a great conversation.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    I read the first chapter thinking I would put a post-it on each age with interesting information, horrific but memorable statistics and issues I wanted to follow-up on. I ended up with post-its everywhere. The book is really a comprehensive collection of essays looking at the most pressing issues facing women around the world. Violence, rape (women and children are raped at a rate of 1 every 48 seconds in the Democratic Republic of Congo), abject poverty, exclusion from society and persistent an I read the first chapter thinking I would put a post-it on each age with interesting information, horrific but memorable statistics and issues I wanted to follow-up on. I ended up with post-its everywhere. The book is really a comprehensive collection of essays looking at the most pressing issues facing women around the world. Violence, rape (women and children are raped at a rate of 1 every 48 seconds in the Democratic Republic of Congo), abject poverty, exclusion from society and persistent and violent harassment all feature. This book is much more than just a catalogue of issues, though. For each issue there is commentary on the large wins and small successes that women are experiencing in their battle for equality, a battle to live in peace and to secure their social and economic futures. There is an uprising and it is women who will wield the power of change. A must read - disturbing but also uplifting.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Well written, inspiring and engaging book describing phenomenal female revolutionaries from around the world who are making change happen, from Nobel prize winners to little girls suing for justice. What I especially liked about this book was the focus on women as leaders utilizing their natural tendencies for collaborative leadership and decision making. There are numerous examples in this book of phenomenal women leaders who were able to achieve great change because they did not try to use typi Well written, inspiring and engaging book describing phenomenal female revolutionaries from around the world who are making change happen, from Nobel prize winners to little girls suing for justice. What I especially liked about this book was the focus on women as leaders utilizing their natural tendencies for collaborative leadership and decision making. There are numerous examples in this book of phenomenal women leaders who were able to achieve great change because they did not try to use typical masculine traits to address problems and come up with solutions, but because they used feminine traits to problem solving to address issues and concerns (i.e. collaboration, empathy, group consensus, community concern, shared leadership and collegiality, etc...).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Risanna

    Insane book with beautiful and exasperating stories. It may have actually inspired me to become more invested in feminism and law.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Christine Hassan

    Not as depressing as I might have thought. A solid description of what women in various countries are doing to improve their lot in life. Shows the importance of grassroots movements.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Caron

    This book is an important and necessary read for anyone who is involved in or believes in humanitarianism or women's equality. The first-person stories of violence, suffering, and courage interwoven throughout the book are heart-wrenching and inspirational at the same time. I only had a vague notion of who Sally Armstrong was in the realm of journalism but when 3 women I admire - Michele Landsberg, Samantha Nut and Anna Maria Tremonti - lent their names to the book I knew it had to be added to m This book is an important and necessary read for anyone who is involved in or believes in humanitarianism or women's equality. The first-person stories of violence, suffering, and courage interwoven throughout the book are heart-wrenching and inspirational at the same time. I only had a vague notion of who Sally Armstrong was in the realm of journalism but when 3 women I admire - Michele Landsberg, Samantha Nut and Anna Maria Tremonti - lent their names to the book I knew it had to be added to my reading list. The book did not disappoint. I finished reading Ascent of Women about a month ago and I put off writing a review because I didn't think I could do it justice. I suppose justice is really what the book is all about. I have a new appreciation for what is meant by 'Don't send a goat send a lawyer'.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    I do not think I could appropriately describe how much I loved reading Ascent of Women by Sally Armstrong! It was an empowering look at what women from across the globe are doing to further the rights of women and change countries who traditionally oppress women. I found myself filled with hope and new knowledge that what we see on television about women (in particular women from the Middle East) being oppressed, while true, is only half the story! Everyone who supports women's rights and human r I do not think I could appropriately describe how much I loved reading Ascent of Women by Sally Armstrong! It was an empowering look at what women from across the globe are doing to further the rights of women and change countries who traditionally oppress women. I found myself filled with hope and new knowledge that what we see on television about women (in particular women from the Middle East) being oppressed, while true, is only half the story! Everyone who supports women's rights and human rights should read this book and find a way to get involved!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Loretta

    This book by Sally Armstrong, a Canadian journalist who is passionate about reporting the gains made by women across the world in bettering the lives of women everywhere, Africa, Afghanistan, Canada, U.S. She tells the stories of many young women who are fighting for other women putting themselves at risk. A scary book of all the atrocities that are happening to women, but with a note of hope in what these brave women have done. I reread this book for my Book Club. It was as inspiring as always. This book by Sally Armstrong, a Canadian journalist who is passionate about reporting the gains made by women across the world in bettering the lives of women everywhere, Africa, Afghanistan, Canada, U.S. She tells the stories of many young women who are fighting for other women putting themselves at risk. A scary book of all the atrocities that are happening to women, but with a note of hope in what these brave women have done. I reread this book for my Book Club. It was as inspiring as always. I admire those women who step forward in scary times for them.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    Truly an AMAZING book! It was beyond inspiration with its amazing of how women all over the world are fighting for equality and against violence. While I shed many for tears for those who are struggling I am filled with pride for those who are succeeding and there are many! I also greatly enjoyed the glimpses into how my own country, Canada, is not stepping up to the plate to deal with the horrible atrocities happening to indigenous women here in Canada.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Absolutely one of the best books I've read about women's issues worldwide. I love Sally Armstrong and appreciate her inclusion of the entire world - not just Afghanistan, though that is her specialty - in her discussion of women's rights. I also appreciate her positivity - women have come a long way in all parts of the world and their successes should be celebrated while also remaining realistic about what else still needs to be done. It's happening. Absolutely one of the best books I've read about women's issues worldwide. I love Sally Armstrong and appreciate her inclusion of the entire world - not just Afghanistan, though that is her specialty - in her discussion of women's rights. I also appreciate her positivity - women have come a long way in all parts of the world and their successes should be celebrated while also remaining realistic about what else still needs to be done. It's happening.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Nagle

    "Progress lies in the direction we haven't been." -Gloria Steinem (p.271) I learned a lot from this book - about the different cultures, about countries I didn't realise were struggling so much with issues, and about the women who have stood up to make a difference. I highly recommend this read for anyone wanting to learn more about gender and how so much progress has been made by actually listening to what women have to say. "Progress lies in the direction we haven't been." -Gloria Steinem (p.271) I learned a lot from this book - about the different cultures, about countries I didn't realise were struggling so much with issues, and about the women who have stood up to make a difference. I highly recommend this read for anyone wanting to learn more about gender and how so much progress has been made by actually listening to what women have to say.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    Even though this book was written in 2013 I founded it dated. Armstrong describes how women are gaining control over their bodies and by speaking out are empowering themselves and improving the world. A good premise but she cited too many similar examples for my taste.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    The World Bank asserts that if women and girls are treated fairly, the economy of a village will improve. “Countries that oppress their women are doomed to be failed states.” Malala Yousafzai, sixteen of Pakistan, has become the voice of girls throughout the world. When cowardly Taliban shot her in the head in 2012 for daring to go to school and speaking for girls’ education. “By targeting Malala, extremists showed what they feared most: a girl with a book.” The changes described in this book are The World Bank asserts that if women and girls are treated fairly, the economy of a village will improve. “Countries that oppress their women are doomed to be failed states.” Malala Yousafzai, sixteen of Pakistan, has become the voice of girls throughout the world. When cowardly Taliban shot her in the head in 2012 for daring to go to school and speaking for girls’ education. “By targeting Malala, extremists showed what they feared most: a girl with a book.” The changes described in this book are aimed at solving the world’s most intractable problems - poverty, conflict, and violence. It’s a sweeping generalization, but my experience writing about women in zones of conflict as well as in developing and developed countries tells me that women are more interested in fair policy than power, in peace than in a piece of the turf. And women leaders have long asserted that a sense of community is far more valuable than a sense of control. “Talking is the antidote for oppression and injustice.” Historically, when you alter the status of one woman, you alter the status of her family. Once religion took a male-dominated stand, it nurtured the oppression of women. In twelfth-century, Islam was the only religion of the time that allowed people to practice any other religion, and its leader, the prophet Muhammad, had a working wife. So why do today’s mullahs and imams interpret the Quran in ways that oppress women? The Quran was written one hundred years after the prophet died; the interpretation of the prophet’s words reflect the times more than they do the holy man. Farida Shaheed, the prominent Pakistani women’s rights activist, says, “Religion as faith is the least problematic; as custom, it’s a bigger problem; but as politics, it becomes the most problematic.” In fact, in most of the countries where I work as a journalist, the thugs in power are quick to tell me, “You’re not from here. You’re not part of our culture, so you have no right to write about our women.” Culture flies like a banner of pride. But it also covers a host of misogynist acts that have oppressed women for centuries. After 9/11, the world was drawn to the human rights catastrophe taking place in Afghanistan. U.S. president George W. Bush claimed that he was invading Afghanistan to rescue the women, but a more honest explanation was that American soldiers happened to stumble over burqa-clad women on their way to avenge the attach on the World Trade towers. In fact, throughout history, no military or government has ever gone anywhere to rescue women. The fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, concentrated entirely on the human rights of women and girls. The resulting Platform for Action - asserting that women’s rights are human rights - was mainstreamed into all policies and programs of the United Nations. The slogan “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” went viral and became a rallying cry for women the world over. More than 130 million women who are alive today in twenty-eight countries have been sexually mutilated in the name of tradition. Every day, an average of six thousand little girls are taken to old women known as “the cutters” who excise their clitoris and labia with a razor and then sew them up. No anesthetic, no sterilization. There’s just agony, a future of pain and sometimes death. Men who come from a patriarchal cultural background do not agree with full and complete equality for women and men, and the reason for it is that equality weakens their power. If it were up to the women, Palestine and Israel would have signed a peace accord in the late 1980s. “In the kingdom of death, Israeli children lie beside Palestinian children, soldiers of the occupying army beside suicide bombers, and no one remembers who was David and who was Goliath.” Many Afghans see the Taliban as a menace and a throwback to the dark ages. The biggest obstacle to a Taliban return is the women, particularly the young women active in Afghanistan today. Young Women for Change (YWC) is challenging old customs and is growing dramatically. Muhammad Yunus, Bangladeshi banker, economist, and founder of Grameen Bank, was among the first to see women as the way forward, the way out of the intractable cycle of poverty. His (Yunus) philosophy: lend money to women and they will break the cycle of poverty; lend it to men and they will spend the money on themselves. Hillary Clinton: “When we liberate the economic potential of women, we elevate the economic performance of communities, nations, and the world.” Research on women and the economy shows that women save more money than men, that they use their money to feed and educate their children, and as a result their families are healthier and better educated. Empowering women through education changes lives - as girls marry later, have fewer children, and those children are healthier. Hillary Clinton predicts a change in the economic climate for women, and there’s research data to support her view. Economists estimate that women-owned businesses will create nearly a third of the new jobs anticipated over the next seven years. Globally, women will control $15 trillion in spending by the year 2014. Dismissing violence as cultural rather than criminal excuses the act. Until we call crimes against women (and humanity) by their names, we’ll not only fail to stop the violence against women that is endemic throughout the world, we will be endorsing it. American filmmaker Abigail Disney says, “Women mobilizing to stop war is our last best hope.” Referring to the ever-increasing number of civil wars going on in the world today, she stresses, “We have been moving closer to perpetual war ever day. One thing we’ve never tried, never given a chance to, is women’s leadership.” The new revolutionaries know that you have to speak your truth and use the law of the land to hold the state accountable for changing the status quo and then be prepared to wait out the naysayers. But the process begins with finding the nerve to conquer fear. “Sexual harassment is just a way for men who feel threatened by women’s leadership to stop us from living up to our full potential.” “The democratic world, which has told us a lot about the virtues of democracy and good governance, should not be indifferent to what is happening in Yemen and Syria, and what happened before that in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, and happens in every Arab and non-Arab country aspiring for freedom. All of that is just hard labor during the birth of democracy, which requires support and assistance, not fear and caution, to win their rights in a society dominated by the supremacy of men.” In Afghanistan, Noorjahan Akbar and Anita Haidary have launched the most powerful change agent that Afghan women have ever known with their organization Young Women for Change. Gloria Steinem thinks their stories are the art of the possible. She says, “Women are certainly the way forward. Men are also the way forward. Progress lies in the direction we haven’t been.” Akbar speaks precisely, “I am still afraid very often. I think anyone who has joined YWC has had fear because people who dare to speak out against injustice face backlash, and any new idea is bound to be rejected before being accepted, especially if it challenges societal norms and rules.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Billie Jo

    Not sure where to start. First, yes, at this point the book is dated which only makes it more depressing that the issues that were being 'changed' 5 years ago really haven't changed at all in that time. Second, the book was hard to read. Not only the content, but the writing style. Had the author not been a journalist and bestselling author I would not have been surprised to be reading another awkwardly written, unorganized non fiction book, but I read her bio before beginning the book and expec Not sure where to start. First, yes, at this point the book is dated which only makes it more depressing that the issues that were being 'changed' 5 years ago really haven't changed at all in that time. Second, the book was hard to read. Not only the content, but the writing style. Had the author not been a journalist and bestselling author I would not have been surprised to be reading another awkwardly written, unorganized non fiction book, but I read her bio before beginning the book and expected more. The books organization felt like she just took some of her assignments to threw them together calling it a book. As articles, the chapters would have been interesting and information, but as a book it felt repetitive, disjointed, and unorganized. Near the end of the book the reader is reminded that the author is trying to show how protecting, empowering, and including women could improve overall economies, lift communities out of poverty, and bring peace. Her stories did a good job with the first two, but her example for bringing peace didn't really show any different result than the men before had reached. I read this book because my daughter saw 2 of her idols on the cover and wanted to read a more grown up version their stories; proving to me once again, one should never judge a book by it's cover.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sue Jackson

    Wow. This book is powerful and depressing at times but important to read. Sally Armstrong takes us on a journey of the abuse of women. She chronicles the painful stories of women in many parts of the world yet shows that they are able to be strong. Uprising is a book that is difficult to read. It is hard not because it is poorly written but because of the painful story it paints. It is filled of stories of women being deprived of power, of being controlled, and even of being raped. The stories ar Wow. This book is powerful and depressing at times but important to read. Sally Armstrong takes us on a journey of the abuse of women. She chronicles the painful stories of women in many parts of the world yet shows that they are able to be strong. Uprising is a book that is difficult to read. It is hard not because it is poorly written but because of the painful story it paints. It is filled of stories of women being deprived of power, of being controlled, and even of being raped. The stories are difficult but important to hear and they show that there are similarities from places all over the world. The author describes in detail the painful struggles that women face merely because they are female. She also shows how women are able to rise up and fight against these inequities. Although it is about specific regions at specific times when women were abused or not given equal rights, it is still timeless. Ironically, in the United States, women are just now feeling comfortable enough and willing to talk about inappropriate touching by their male counterparts. Maybe this isn't an uprising, but it ties in perfectly with women gaining confidence and the willingness to speak about things that are unfair and in appropriate.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Patricia M Thompson

    The book was a difficult book to read through. As most people my age living in the United States do not want to believe a the harshness that goes on in foreign countries to women. What made the book good for me was that there were signs that improvements are being made. The governments of other world controlling countries are listening and seeing the problems women face in the oppressed countries.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Evie

    A very difficult read. The horrendous acts against women described at times in gory details are just heartbreaking. I never thought humans are capable of such abuse in the name of culture and religion. Such an eye opener for me! Sally Armstrong has written so well to highlight that there's hope --- and women as well as men are working towards significant progress in gender equality and women's rights. Kudos to the women and girls who sowed the seeds on this uprising! A very difficult read. The horrendous acts against women described at times in gory details are just heartbreaking. I never thought humans are capable of such abuse in the name of culture and religion. Such an eye opener for me! Sally Armstrong has written so well to highlight that there's hope --- and women as well as men are working towards significant progress in gender equality and women's rights. Kudos to the women and girls who sowed the seeds on this uprising!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen McRae

    This book should be on school curriculums.It is the story of female struggle bro be recognized as people and as equals.Sally Armstrong feels this struggle has been ramping up in those countries where women still have no personal freedom, where they are still sold ,bartered and traded.I think my moment in this book was when she described Margaret Mitchell in the House of Commons in 1982 IN CANADA trying to pass a law that reformed the country's rape laws making marital rape a crime and the member This book should be on school curriculums.It is the story of female struggle bro be recognized as people and as equals.Sally Armstrong feels this struggle has been ramping up in those countries where women still have no personal freedom, where they are still sold ,bartered and traded.I think my moment in this book was when she described Margaret Mitchell in the House of Commons in 1982 IN CANADA trying to pass a law that reformed the country's rape laws making marital rape a crime and the members were laughing at her and hooting and making jokes about beating their spouse.Women's stories are as bad as any holocaust or slavery story.Rape was only described as away crime in the late 1990's by the criminal court in the Hague. What did it take……Thousands of women in Africa have been raped ,gang raped and that is inclusive of babies to 80 yr olds. There are many women like Sally armstrong who tirelessly dedicate their time and energy to help women in countries where their rights are subsumed and marginalized.Afghanistan is number1 in worst place to be a female and Democratic Republic of the Congo is Number2. This book doesn't even touch on the subject of human trafficking and it packs a punch. If women around the world had equal rights to men I think the world would change for the better,economically,ecologically and perhaps war would die the death it deserves.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Varsha Bhargavi

    This book tells the different types of abuse women are subjected to, whether in developed country like Canada or in Swaziland. This book is a must read for all men. I am specifically saying this to men, as men often behave very insensitively passing statements and brush off some very important problems we women face, writing them off as feminists banter. No, it is not. We have some very big issues that needs to be addressed. And these issues if ignored by half of the population (read men), then This book tells the different types of abuse women are subjected to, whether in developed country like Canada or in Swaziland. This book is a must read for all men. I am specifically saying this to men, as men often behave very insensitively passing statements and brush off some very important problems we women face, writing them off as feminists banter. No, it is not. We have some very big issues that needs to be addressed. And these issues if ignored by half of the population (read men), then there is going to a revolution and soon an imbalance in humanity, whose repercussions cannot even fathom. There is an urgent need for men to develop sensitivity towards women's issues rather than being judgmental. Even an off-hand remark about abuse can be very hurtful. Men need to be educated about this. There is a sense of urgency I feel towards addressing women's problems now. And I am not saying this because I am a woman, but, if you don't see these problems are yours, then you are behaving like an ostrich that buried its head in sand. Time to look up. Time to stand up - for your mother, your wife, your sister, your daughter. After all we are the one who give birth to humanity. Don't kill us. Don't kill our spirit. Give our share of love, respect and life willingly. Read this book to understand women. Yes now there is one written in English.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    generally OK book. found it to be redundant and wasn't the biggest fan of the writing style - seemed a bit over dramatic or something. can't put my finger on it but something rubbed me the wrong way. important topic and enjoyed learning about the initiatives happening around the world - especially the grassroots movements led by women in Pakistan and Afghanistan because I am less familiar with the work happening there. a lot of the statistics and stories featured in the book I had read about els generally OK book. found it to be redundant and wasn't the biggest fan of the writing style - seemed a bit over dramatic or something. can't put my finger on it but something rubbed me the wrong way. important topic and enjoyed learning about the initiatives happening around the world - especially the grassroots movements led by women in Pakistan and Afghanistan because I am less familiar with the work happening there. a lot of the statistics and stories featured in the book I had read about elsewhere in better detail. felt that the content was a bit disorganized in how it was presented, which led to a lot of repetition. felt that the book was trying to be revolutionary or earth shattering but really wasn't bringing anything forward that those interested in global health wouldn't already be aware of. ideas were not new or challenging. the book also was very safe politically - didn't take too many risks in terms of criticisms of governments in the west contributing to the oppression of women (people) in developing countries. would have enjoyed some more depth and/or critical thought in this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    This non-fiction book, written by a well-known journalist, focusses on issues crucial to women - violence, poverty, abortion, human rights, conflict. It could be a very depressing book. It is not. It is full of hope because it focusses on women and groups which are fighting for change. It covers everything from the struggles of women in conflict zones, on university campuses, in rural villages, or in their homes. The women range in age from schoolgirls fighting their own government for protectio This non-fiction book, written by a well-known journalist, focusses on issues crucial to women - violence, poverty, abortion, human rights, conflict. It could be a very depressing book. It is not. It is full of hope because it focusses on women and groups which are fighting for change. It covers everything from the struggles of women in conflict zones, on university campuses, in rural villages, or in their homes. The women range in age from schoolgirls fighting their own government for protection from abduction and violence to grandmothers fighting for the support of their grandchildren and widows fighting for property rights. Women around the world from Toronto to Nairobi, Kabul to NYC are fighting against the paternalistic rules which deprive them of their education, their livelihoods, and their lives. Instead of a litany of the horrors waged against women, "Ascent of Women" is filled with hope and inspiration. A perfect book to read in these troubled times.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dianna

    Ms. Armstrong should be appreciated for penning "Uprising: A New Age is Dawning for Every Mother's Daughter". The text is well thought-out and combines broad historical and political events and their significant impact on individuals whose stories were collected by the author herself and retold in a respectful and touching manner. It reports about the who's who in current reform and describes their roadblocks and methodology for improving the life of women. It is the type of book that can change Ms. Armstrong should be appreciated for penning "Uprising: A New Age is Dawning for Every Mother's Daughter". The text is well thought-out and combines broad historical and political events and their significant impact on individuals whose stories were collected by the author herself and retold in a respectful and touching manner. It reports about the who's who in current reform and describes their roadblocks and methodology for improving the life of women. It is the type of book that can change perspectives, convey a sense of empowerment to change, educate about women's rights the world over, and provide a reference for how to become better involved in women's rights activities. Although some of the content of the book is extremely difficult to read from an emotional perspective, trust in the author's decisions and the book's totality will be worthwhile.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Extremely well-researched, powerful book about the empowerment of women all over the world. Sally Armstrong is a Canadian author who has travelled extensively and interviewed hundreds/thousands of women to gain a perspective about what women have to face in their every day lives. Some parts are very difficult to read (rape as a weapon of war, barbaric treatment of young girls due to ancient customs that mutilate them for life, etc.) but if you want to be informed as to what is going on and why w Extremely well-researched, powerful book about the empowerment of women all over the world. Sally Armstrong is a Canadian author who has travelled extensively and interviewed hundreds/thousands of women to gain a perspective about what women have to face in their every day lives. Some parts are very difficult to read (rape as a weapon of war, barbaric treatment of young girls due to ancient customs that mutilate them for life, etc.) but if you want to be informed as to what is going on and why we need to keep campaigning to give women power over their lives so that they can make decisions and prosper - it is a must read. I thought I knew about what was happening in the Middle East and Africa but this book really digs deep and surprises with some very inspirational stories and much hope for the future.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Wilson

    This is a very well written book, aided by the fact that Sally Armstrong is a journalist used to writing for a mainstream audience. It is very readable, and the stories she shares are very inspiring. However, she also strikes me as overly optimistic. Every story she used as an example of how women are about to overturn inequality was still filled with very substantial obstacles. While the progress being made is certainly encouraging, it seems premature to act as though our work is almost done. Th This is a very well written book, aided by the fact that Sally Armstrong is a journalist used to writing for a mainstream audience. It is very readable, and the stories she shares are very inspiring. However, she also strikes me as overly optimistic. Every story she used as an example of how women are about to overturn inequality was still filled with very substantial obstacles. While the progress being made is certainly encouraging, it seems premature to act as though our work is almost done. There is still much to do, particularly in her example of Israel and Palestine. Nevertheless, this is definitely an important book.

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