2010 Peace Media Award Goes to Sheryl WuDunn
Sheryl WuDunn has a long list of inspirational accomplishments, all of which set her apart as an innovative leader and influential changemaker.
Among her successes, WuDunn was the first Asian American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize, which she won with her husband Nicholas Kristof for their reporting from the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. More recently, WuDunn co-authored (again, with her husband) the movement-inspiring book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.
In Half the Sky, WuDunn and Kristof journey with readers through Africa and Asia to learn about the lives of extraordinary women—among them a Cambodian teenager sold into sex slavery and an Ethiopian woman who suffered devastating injuries in childbirth. Through these women’s stories, WuDunn and Kristof illustrate that the world’s greatest unused resource is the female half of the population—a capacity gap not only in billions of dollars of GNP but also in billions of IQ points.
Half the Sky is not simply a collection of moving stories about devastating oppression and the potential advantages of women’s empowerment; it is a passionate call to action. It strives to incite all of us to play our part in the fight against oppression of women and girls in the developing world.
“The tide of history is turning women from beasts of burden and sexual playthings into full-fledged human beings. The economic advantages of empowering women are so vast as to persuade nations to move in that direction. Before long, we will consider sex slavery, honor killings, and acid attacks as unfathomable as foot-binding. The question is how long that transformation will take and how many girls will be kidnapped into brothels before it is complete—and whether each of us will be part of that historical moment, or a bystander.”
In recognition of the influential role WuDunn has played in shining a light on women’s experiences around the world, Peace X Peace honors her with our 2010 Peace Media Award. This award honors a publication, video, radio or television program, investigative reporter, or Internet organization that uses the power of media to inform and inspire civil society to help build cultures of peace.
During a recent interview with Peace X Peace, WuDunn discussed the role she envisions Half the Sky playing in abolishing global gender inequalities.
People in the general public, in the government, and in civil society — in all sectors — can’t ignore women’s oppression any more. We know that this issue is not going to be solved in a day. But the more people that we can get thinking about it, we can start moving the needle.
In the US, right now, the issue of women’s oppression and the advantages that empowerment provide are getting an amazing amount of attention compared to the past. That is really critical. It is a long process of change but once you have attention you have more intelligent minds and resources dedicated to solving the problem. I think that is so important.
In general, I think people underestimate the importance of the press and media. Raising awareness helps the non-profit organizations that are working on important issues have a more meaningful impact.
It’s one thing for the book Half the Sky to be successful but the real purpose is to have people take action and do something to help change the situation. There are a lot of attitudes out there that need to be changed and practices that need to be uprooted. And there are a lot of women to educate and employ. That is what we hope will change. We really would like to see change for a lot of women around the world.
Please join us in congratulating Sheryl WuDunn and thanking her, on behalf of women around the world, for shining the light on women. Let’s all heed her call to action!
Watch this video to witness WuDunn persuasively articulate why it is critical to all of us for women in developing countries to have equal access to education and economic opportunities.
To read about the other Women, Power and Peace Award winners click here.