Cheryl Wudunn speaks at TED on Half the Sky. Wudunn is co-author with husband Nicholas Kristof of the book Half The Sky Turning Oppression Into Opportunity For Women Worldwide and they are founders of the Half The Sky Movement .
Wudunn, an experienced journalist and the first Asian-American reporter to win a Pulitzer-Prize, has written powerfully about the plight of women and girls in the world today as a result of modern slavery and sex trafficking. Sex trafficking is insidious, and other forms of slavery equally so. There are a number of harrowing documentaries and movies that deal with the subject, the testimony before the US Senate by Ashton Kutcher is brief, graphic and disturbing, as well as passionate. Often conservative groups point the finger at the porn industry, and while I have no doubt it goes on under cover, I beleive that the real culprits are organised crime, prostitution (especially where drugs are used to create an indebtedness), and predominantly – countries whose laws are lax or where such crime can be easily hidden, even encouraged.
Wudunn points out that though there may some closeness in the ideal of male/female being 50/50 in the world, it not true that power and security for women is equal. There are many fact books and expose docos available, but fewer resources on what can actually be done, Half the Sky is one such resource.
The other resource is men! If men don’t add their voice to this critical issue then we simply accede to the status quo, and we are not owning that there is a problem. What clothing labels do you buy, how do you behave at home, at work, how do you treat women? We cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that men are directly responsible for trafficking, the evidence is there, but those who stay quiet or turn away are also part of the problem.
Wudunn encourages everyone to do something about this issue, to firstly become aware, then to take action, even if that is only contributing to charitable work, lobbying, writing, whatever you can do – then do it. But do not do nothing! To quote Edmund Burke (or was it Charles Aked?) again: “The only thing necesary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (I’m going to leave that gender specific). There’s always more we can do, must do!
sweet, sweet cherry the bees will enable us fruit for all the world ©Paul Cannon