The first time I remember reading Nick Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn’s journalistic work was in the New York Times’ Sunday Magazine, back in August of 2009. I recall poring over the feature article, “The Women’s Crusade”, on a Sunday morning, my eyes and mind opening to both the widespread yet under-reported crisis and also the possibility for real change. A few months after, I was applying for a job with Giving Beauty, a company that resonated with me in no small part because of its mission of “Women Helping Women Through Shared Beauty Rituals.” Katharine and I connected over “The Women’s Crusade” during the interview process, and a week later I had the job.
“The Women’s Crusade” was a press introduction to Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, the book that Kristoff and wife WuDunn authored and published in September of 2009. Half the Sky has just been released as a movie, featuring American actresses like Diane Lane and America Ferrera visiting organizations and people that are changing the story of abuse, neglect, and poverty that faces women around the world. I screened the two parts on PBS over the past two weeks, tearing up regularly not just for the pain and hardship depicted, but also for the inspiring grace, determination, and hope of the female leaders and survivors. I encourage everyone to see this movie. To learn more, visit the Half the Sky Movement website.
I am proud to work for a company whose mission is to empower women around the world. Katharine L’Heureux and Kahina accomplish this in several ways. First and foremost, the argan oil industry (when navigated properly) is dominated by women who are both workers and entrepreneurs. Berber women workers who crack the argan nuts earn incomes, some take literacy classes, and some bring their children to auxiliary schools connected to argan cooperatives. On our website, you can read about the impact that the argan trade has had on their lives. There are also women who run the cooperatives and help them to grow and employ more women. Katharine is careful to do trade with these kinds of cooperatives. Giving Beauty donates a percentage of profits to help support programs promoting education and providing healthcare for these women and their families. One specific organization that we donate to is Education for All, a UNESCO program that supports education for girls. Another way Giving Beauty works to improve the lives of women is by partnering with Destiny Reflection, a program in India gives sewing and textile training to women at risk of sex trafficking or those that have participated and escaped. With this training, they can earn an alternative income that does not put them at risk of disease or physical or sexual abuse. As Sheryl WuDunn points out in much of Half the Sky, the woman’s plight is also an economic plight. Give women the opportunity to earn money, to participate in the economy and they will. Thank you to our Kahina customers that make furthering this mission possible.