'Half the Sky' Shows Women Overcoming Oppression and Building a Better World

The two part special Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide premiered on PBS earlier this week. America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde join New York Times journalists Nick Kristof to meet some of of the women that are profiled the book of the same name co-authored by his wife Sheryl WuDunn.

A post in the Huffington Post by Dr. Jamela Saleh Alraiby, Deputy Minister of Public Health and Population, Yemen and member of the White Ribbon Alliance Board of Directors, tells of the importance of women and girls. She explains her hopes for ending the suffering of girls in her home country.

Fighting to ban child marriage in Yemen is so difficult as it has religious, cultural and tribal roots, but this challenge gives us more strength to save our girls and to stop the violence they are exposed to, to assure that they have the means and tools to make their own decisions, and to ensure their participation in sustainable development.

My dream for girls is that they be empowered to be able to make their own decisions. My own daughter Sara, who just finished high school, is 18 years-old. A family asked that she marry their son, who she knows. She knew she was free to make her own decision, and she answered strongly that “It is too early and I want to finish my studies.” I am proud of her.

I want all girls in Yemen to have the same choice as my daughter did — to choose their own destiny, to make their decisions without any pressure and to not be controlled under the guise of “protection.”

My dream is that every Yemeni girl has the chance to education and can live a safe life, not threatened by a forced marriage when she is only a child.

If you missed it, we have good news. PBS is streaming both parts for one week. Above you can watch part one and you can go here to watch part two. PBS is also continuing to air the episodes, so check your local listings to see when you can watch it on your TV.