“Half the Sky: The Greatest Unexploited Resource in the World Today Isn’t Oil or Gold or Wind. It’s Women.”—Sheryl WuDunn

May 11, 2011
7:00 pmto9:00 pm

Erb Memorial Union Ballroom
1222 E. 13th Ave., University of Oregon

Lorwin Lecture on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties — Sheryl WuDunn, Co-author of Half the Sky

“There is no simple economic formula for overcoming global poverty, but there is growing evidence that one of the simplest and most effective ways is to educate girls, empower them with knowledge and the ability to make their own decisions and help them develop some financial independence.  That way, they are integrated into their local economy, and potentially, the larger economy of the world.

“Take someone I know, Srey Rath, a Cambodian teenager who was trafficked and sold to a brothel in Cambodia. She was imprisoned there, unpaid, and raped countless times a day. In effect, she was a slave.

“But finally she was able to escape and after many adventures made her way home, where she was given help from an American named Bernie Krisher. With his help, she was able to purchase a small pushcart and goods to sell.  Over the years, she struggled but was determined to succeed so that she would never have to be re-sold to the brothels and become another one of the countless victims of traffickers’ greed.  Now she owns two stalls and specializes in hats.  She has become a financial pillar for her extended family, teaching relatives about her lessons from the business world.

“Her story is a reminder of this fundamental truth about gender injustices around the world: girls aren’t just the problem or the victim; they’re also the solution, and their ingenuity and courage is beginning to spread with many helping hands from the West.  There is a growing realization that when you educate a girl, you educate a village. And there are a growing number of ways to tap into this increasingly globalized network of empowering women around the world.”

Sheryl WuDunn

Sheryl WuDunn, the first Asian-American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize, is a best-selling author, business executive and lecturer. Currently, she is a senior managing director at Mid-Market Securities, an investment banking boutique serving growth companies in the middle market, including companies founded and run by women. She is also president of TripleEdge, a social investing consultancy. WuDunn is co-author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a New York Times best-selling book about the challenges facing women around the globe. It has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Colbert Report and many other network television shows. WuDunn also helped launch the Half the Sky multi-media effort to create a thoughtful, effective philanthropic strategy that includes an online social action campaign, a documentary series and a television special.

Previously, WuDunn worked at The New York Times as both an executive and journalist; as editor for international markets, energy and industry; as The Times’s first anchor of an evening news headlines program for a digital cable television channel, the Discovery-Times; in management roles in strategic planning and circulation; and as a foreign correspondent for The Times in Tokyo and Beijing, where she wrote about economic, financial, political and social issues. She has also been vice president, in the role of investment advisor for private clients, in the investment management division at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and a commercial loan officer at Bankers Trust.

Sheryl WuDunn

With her husband, Nicholas D. Kristof, she has co-authored two other best-selling books about Asia: Thunder from the East and China Wakes. WuDunn won a Pulitzer Prize with her husband for covering China, along with the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Lifetime Achievement. She has also won other journalism prizes, including the George Polk Award and Overseas Press Club Awards. WuDunn was honored for Half the Sky in 2010 with the Beacon Award from the White House Project, a nonpartisan organization that seeks to advance women’s leadership in all communities and sectors.

WuDunn graduated from Cornell University, where she is a member of the Board of Trustees, chairs the Academic Affairs Committee and is a member of the Board’s Finance Committee. She earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MPA from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, where she was a member of its Advisory Council. She speaks Chinese and some Japanese and lectures around the United States and abroad on economic, political and social topics related to women in the developing world, China, and the emerging markets. Recently, she spoke about China to Al Gore and his group of colleagues including Sir David King, the chief science advisor to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. She has often been quoted in news articles and has discussed philanthropic issues on such television programs as The Charlie Rose Show and NBC’s Dateline.

A Lorwin Event

The Center for the Study of Women in Society presents “Women’s Rights in a Global World,” the 2010-11 inaugural series of the Lorwin Lectureship on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. This yearlong series of lectures, symposia, workshops, and other events focuses on the continuing struggles for women’s rights and is intended to inspire new scholarship and activism on women’s rights. It grows out of CSWS’s historical mission: to generate research on women and gender and to disseminate that research to a broader feminist community. The Lorwin Lectureship on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is funded by a gift from Val and Madge Lorwin to the University of Oregon College of Arts and Sciences and School of Law.