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Ascent of Women [Hardcover]

Sally Armstrong
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 5 2013

This book is about the final frontier for women: having control over your own body, whether in zones of conflict, in rural villages, on university campuses or in your own kitchen. Recent studies by economists such as Jeffrey Sachs and social scientists such as Isobel Coleman claim that women who gain such control--who are not oppressed--are the key to economic justice and the end to violence in developing countries around the world.
Ascent of Women will describe the perilous journey that brought women to this point. It will tell the dramatic and empowering stories of change-makers and examine the stunning courage, tenacity and wit they are using to alter the status quo. It is the story of a dawning of a new revolution, whose chapters are being written in mud-brick houses in Afghanistan; on Tehrir Square in Cairo; in the forests of the Congo, where women still hide from their attackers; and in a shelter in northern Kenya, where 160 girls between 3 and 17 are pursuing a historic court case against a government who did not protect them from rape.
Women revolutionaries in Toronto and Nairobi, Kabul and Caracas, New York City and Lahore are making history. Women the world over are marching to protest honour killing, polygamy, stoning and a dozen other religiously or culturally sanctified acts of violence. Sally Armstrong will bring us these voices from the barricades, inspiring and brave.

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“Sally Armstrong is the war correspondent for the world’s women. Striding into Taliban-held Afghanistan with a burka over her six-foot frame, playing high-fives with a traumatized child rape survivor in the Congolese jungle, marching with the defiant grandmothers in Swaziland, she explores the darkest reaches of women’s experience and brings back astonishing news of hope, challenge and change. From Tahrir Square to Senegal, Armstrong discovers that the sisters are doing it for themselves—and revolutionizing the world.”
—Michele Landsberg, author of Writing the Revolution

“This book is Sally Armstrong at her best: engaging storytelling peppered with thoughtful analysis and passionate activism. Ascent of Women is at once heart-wrenching and inspiring, and a powerful reminder that the struggle for women’s equality continues. A must-read for men and women of every generation.”
—Dr. Samantha Nutt, author, Damned Nations, and founder, War Child

“Around the world, away from the spotlight, women and girls are overcoming tremendous obstacles to insist on their rights. Sally Armstrong found them when few other journalists even cared to know their names. This is their story. And our inspiration—a triumph of women’s empowerment and Sally Armstrong’s deep humanity and visionary journalism.”
—Anna Maria Tremonti, host of The Current on CBC Radio One

“This is not a book that romanticizes a small group of revered heroines but instead provides us such profound hope of how truly global, boundless and unstoppable the ascent of women and their leadership is. Armstrong’s clear prose, her funny anecdotes, and her keen sense of a huge untold story made this book so hard to put down. Through each chapter you learn how women’s rights activists are actually tackling the most difficult and protracted social and economic challenges of our time. This is a book the world needs to read.”
—Joanna Kerr, Chief Executive, ActionAid International

About the Author

SALLY ARMSTRONG is an Amnesty International award winner, a member of the Order of Canada, holder of 7 honourary degrees, a teacher, journalist, human rights activist, and contributor to Maclean's, Chatelaine and the CBC. She is a member of the International Women's Commission, a UN body that consists of 20 Palestinian women, 20 Israeli women, and 12 internationals whose mandate is assisting with the path to peace in the Middle East. A bestselling author of Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan (2002) and Bitter Roots, Tender Shoots: The Uncertain Fate of Afghanistan's Women (2008), she is also the author of a fact-based novel about her settler foremother, The Nine Lives of Charlotte Taylor.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Ascent of Women by Sally Armstrong

Parading before the reader is a world-wide eclectic demographic of women and their experiences. Sally leaves no stone unturned with her energetic quest to tell us who we are. We are women.

We are women who need our space and time on this planet to demonstrate what we can do. It doesn’t matter if we are considered untouchable as the resilient Gowramma, a Dalit in India, or have achieved great measures of success and recognition as Hilary Clinton, we are women.

From the racial bias that was paramount and found to exist in the murder of a young aboriginal woman in Canada to the bringing together of women of different cultures in the middle east, few women on this planet are privileged to have had such wide personal experience and skilled enough to write the stories of these women as Sally Armstrong.

In this book’s 255 pages, more than two-dozen women’s groups are described and countless different actions taken by women both in their local communities and globally. Each time a new group is listed and discussed, the reader wants to jump to the internet and learn more about the group; or, how may a contribution or support action be taken.

However, it is the experiences of individual women and girls that grab the reader’s conscious—how could that happen? Why? Who do we blame? Are we helpless in the face of this? The questions do not end. International law is cited. But international law protecting the rights of women and children cannot be just pretty words on paper. It must be respected by the world’s players—those countries that have signed onto and ratified these laws.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars powerful Jan. 2 2014
Though not an easy read (some quite graphic stories in there), it's a powerful read. I was deeply moved to read what is happening to women around the world … and more importantly, what they are doing about it. Fantastic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye Opening Nov. 3 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is shocking to think that so many women deal every with such abuse. It is so encouraging that women are owning the need to make change.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars power to women Aug. 16 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
loved the book and the womem who wrote it...and her commitment to women in the worldand I have been promoting the book to all of my frienda
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tough read May 15 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ascent of Women might better be called the plight of women -- It was a tough read because it was very graphic about what perils women face around the globe. What was interesting was the way women around the world use the experiences in other countries to mount a plan to increase there rights. Social Media is a real assest that has allowed women to communicate with each other locally, nationally and internationally. What is culturally acceptable in some countries is absolutely appauling to us in Canada. It is interesting how the people in power ( often men) -- use culture and tradition to prevent changes to existing practices and traditions. It was an eye opener when we look within Canada to see that although we have policies and laws to ensure freedom and equity, we are just a work in progress. This is only the public face of women. If we were to go into the houses of women, we would see that often this progress is completely ignored and women struggle to survive and often withstand abusive treatment.
One of the key issues to remember is that this is a journalist view of what is happening around the world.
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