Half The Sky
co-written by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
This incredibly powerful read is no less than one might expect from two Pulitzer Prize winners who also received the prestigious Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Lifetime Achievement in 2011 for their work chronicling human rights in Asia, Africa, and the developing world. The authors titled their book after a Chinese proverb that states, "Women hold up half the sky" — and its theme centers on why empowering women in developing countries is the right thing to do even as it is strategically essential.
Some of the material is troubling to digest because it dives deeply into the truths girls around the world face far more regularly than we realize here in the States: sex trafficking, maternal death rates, genital mutilation, child marriage, rape, and torture. But it also touches on uplifting topics like the power of micro-finance, female education, and the uprising of women in areas of the world where successes for "the fairer sex" are uncommon. It's a staggering read, but one that's incredibly enlightening and perspective-changing.