Before I knew that there was going to be “Noah”, I was busy preparing for my inevitable empty nest. I was trying to mitigate the unease I felt by putting in place a “plan” – a list of things I was going to immerse myself in once Conor went off to college. Things like becoming fluent in Italian. Taking a sommelier course. And finding a way to get more involved with Women for Women International.
I wrote about Women for Women in my post about the Run For Congo Women – it is an incredible organization and I was hoping to play a role that was greater than the annual run and sponsoring my “sisters”.
The arrival of Noah threw a curve ball into my plans, to put it mildly. And though I am thrilled to be on this new and wonderful journey of “mothering from scratch” again – and have started this blog as a direct result of this change to my life – I never quite shook the feeling of wanting to contribute something more to the plight of women globally.
And then along came The Mission List. Here’s a little bit about this incredible new on-line community:
“The Mission List connects non-profits, NGOs, and socially conscious, pro-woman brands with people who are passionate about taking meaningful steps to increase awareness and take action for social good causes. Anyone can join, whether you make yourself heard via social media or in-person in your community: all you need is a passion to make the world a better place and a willingness to shout it from the rooftops.”
I first learned of The Mission List through Sarah Bryden Brown of Blogstar. She invited all Blogstar members to join, and if you know Sarah you will understand why I said yes before I really even understood what it was (yes, she’s THAT good).
And then I learned more about what they were doing – and it was revelatory. HERE was my chance to marry my newest endeavor – my blog – with the desire to make a contribution to social causes I believed so strongly in.
So in addition to gardening advice, yummy recipes and make-up tips, I will now be occasionally sharing information about campaigns that I’m working on and want all of you to know about. I can’t adequately put into words how thrilled I am to use this platform to give voice to important issues too.
I’m starting with Half the Sky.
The book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide was written by renowned husband and wife journalists Nicholas D. Kirstof and Sheryl WuDunn. Half the Sky is now a landmark movement, working to amplify the book’s impact as part of a global campaign – including a blog and PBS documentary airing one month from today – that I’ll be sharing more about over the next few weeks.
I recently read the book and came away thoroughly shaken by what I learned. As I sit here in my cozy house – the smells of a baking cake flooding the kitchen, and the sounds of Noah playing happily in his room – I still cannot wrap my head around the atrocities taking place against women right now. As I write this. Sex trafficking and forced prostitution. Mass rape used as a tool of war. Maternal mortality at rates that are hard to believe possible in the 21st century. Reading story after story of the individual women interviewed for the book, I would go to bed some nights unable to sleep for hours, thinking about what was happening – many miles away – to women and girls like myself. Chelsea. My mother.
It was unbearable to get through it at times, but fortunately there were some small bright moments of hope, change and possibility. Women who were brave enough to fight back – by educating themselves, bravely escaping imprisonment, or starting businesses to create financial (and ultimately personal) emancipation. I read about women here in the States who also read such stories and were moved to act – in small, grassroots ways – to try and help.
And ultimately that is the message that the authors are trying to send. The message that one shouldn’t walk away from trying to help because of the overwhelming size and scope of the problem. That helping a handful of women – that helping ONE woman – makes a difference. This resonated for me, as that’s what I”ve been hoping for with the sisters I’ve sponsored over the years.
I feel so strongly about the importance of this book that I would love to give away two copies to my readers. Simply take a moment to go to the Half the Sky web site. Watch the trailer. Read some of the stories. And let me know how you were affected, or if you are now compelled to act. Be sure to include your e-mail address if it’s not already linked to your comment. The giveaway is open through Friday, September 7th at 5 p.m. EST. The winners will be chosen at random, and announced on Saturday, September 8th.
I look forward to sharing more with you here over the upcoming weeks, and hearing all of your comments and thoughts.
This post (and my sharing on social media) was inspired by my participation in a compensated program initiated by Women Online/The Mission List to raise awareness about the Half the Sky. All commentary and opinions are, of course, my own.
Update: Meredith and Monica are the lucky winners! Thanks for participating!