By Kathy Caprino
Last month, I had the honor of speaking with Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, and investment banker. Co-author of the national bestselling book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide with her husband, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, Sheryl and her husband helped catalyze the Half the Sky Movement, which includes television, film, social media and mobile gaming components promoting global equality and support for women’s rights. Half the Sky raises awareness of the critical issues that affect women without a voice, including violence, maternal mortality, human trafficking, and domestic abuse. Sheryl spoke this summer at the 2013 Global Women’s Executive Summit sponsored by Hogan Lovells, an international legal practice firm.
Sheryl shared with me her views that the oppression of women across the globe is the most critical moral challenge of our time, just as slavery was in the 19th century. “While women here in the U.S. are far better off than those in other countries, and by and large don’t experience what women face in the developing world, we simply can’t turn our backs on the struggles women face elsewhere. It’s a critical challenge that the entire world must work together to address.”
Even in the U.S., prejudice against women remains a significant problem. In our workplaces, there is unequal pay for equal work. Women are battered, raped, and trafficked. And there’s simply no defensible reason why women should continue to be grossly underrepresented in government (women represent less than 20% in the Senate and the House.)
Sheryl shared her thoughts on the challenges women continue to face in ascending to leadership in both corporate America and the government.