Sheryl WuDunn on The Greatest Moral Challenge of the Century

August 10, 2011

Journalists are trained to keep their personal opinions out of their stories, to be impartial observers of events.

Sheryl WuDunn was one of those journalists. She won the Pulitzer Prize with her husband, Nicholas Kristof, for their coverage of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, while working for The New York Times. Since that time, the couple have become outspoken critics of the human rights abuses they’ve witnessed the world over.

In this week’s podcast, we speak to WuDunn about the experiences that have turned her from detached journalist to impassioned champion for women and girls.

Sheryl Wu Dunn’s latest book is Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. She co-wrote it with her husband, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. The two will appear in a film based on the book that is being produced as part of ITVS’s Women and Girls Lead initiative, of which Women, War & Peace is also a part.

Listen to this episode by clicking below, and subscribe to our full series on iTunes.


  1. Cora Weiss says:

    Sheryl WuDunn has done wonderful work finding and interviewing women who have been victims of abuses…rape, trafficking, etc. These are heinous crimes which must be prevented and the perps brought to justice. But when will we hear stories of women who are fighting for gender equality, demanding that their governments adhere to international laws that call for women to be at all decision making tables, where UN Scurity Council Resolution 1325 is being implemented and women are participating at all levels of governance and violent conflict is prevented?
    At a recent conference with human rights activists, women who work with prostitutes from New Orleans to Bangladesh, and elsewhere, we heard complaints that Kristof and WuDunn paint women as victims, and ignore the need to see women as decision makers. It would be nice to see a column and or a book on what happens when women sit at the table, e g, the 2 remarkable women who insisted on human rights institutions for the Good Friday Peace Agreement in N Ireland; or the role of women in South Africa on the transition from Apartheid, or what happens when women are denied a place at the table following violent conflict. The women who have been responsible for getting their governments to adopt a National Action Plan on implementing SC Res 1325 on women, peace and security in Nepal and Philippines is an inspiring story which if told, would motivate other women elsewhere to follow the examples. We can’t pluck rape out of war and let the wars go on. We need to protect women, prevent rape, prosecute the rapers, and work harder to prevent the wars that perpetuate rape because it is the cheapest weapon and women are not seen as equal to men or of significant importance in their societies. Eradicating violence against women will come with eradicating violence. Let’s do both, write about both, interview about both.

  2. Vicky says:

    We women make our own decisions in life. And then the real war begins. We enter into a man’s world with bitter antagonism, racism, deprivation policies, belittling policies and lip service, not to mention covered or uncovered misogynism. We are lucky when we come home to find loving and supportive men, as a parent, a husband, a companion or friend. We consider ourselves blessed whenever we meet a man holding his manhood in high standards and honor equality in their hearts. Equality is the virtue that makes true men, and true women. As humanity we are yet to learn this single lesson of equality which will erase all problems on this planet.

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