k which chronicles the experiences of several women in Africa and Asia, usually under quite disturbing settings which are not imaginable to those of us living comfortably in the developed world. The purpose of the book is to illustrate the fact that more females have been killed in the last century than males, even including male participants in warfare, because of their gender. This has led Kristof & WuDunn to believe that the ultimate challenge for the 21st century is to combat gender inequality, particularly that found in the developing world, because it often goes unaddressed and continues to happen on such a large scale. Kristof & WuDunn also posits that helping women out of gender inequality in these countries will benefit the countries themselves by rapidly increasing the workforce in these areas: Half the Sky is not just a book about the ethics of gender inequality. The purpose of this paper is to explore three of the main issues that Kristof & WuDunn covers in Half the Sky, including the links between misogyny and Islam, the use of rape as a tool for controlling women, and the murder of women for honor.
In Chapter Five, “The Shame of Honour”, Kristof & WuDunn outlines some of the reasons why the innocence and so-called “purity” of a women is upheld as a cultural ideal in many areas. The hymen is associated with purity in a number of religious cultures, and lack of “proof” of virginity is enough to lead to almost 5000 documented honor killings each year (Kristof & WuDunn). Religions often require the virginity of one or more of the members of a couple at the time of marriage, as marriage is seen as a sacred union. However, Kristof & WuDunn and others have suggested that to many outsiders, it seems strange that this religious requirement should outweigh others, such as “do not murder”, which is also found in the majority of worldwide religions (Plummer, 2010).
Sociologically, the reason for this seemingly off-balance requirement to promote