Sheryl WuDunn is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, business executive and author. Her most recent book, â€śHalf The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwideâ€ť discusses womenâ€™s health care in developing countries, among other issues. She co-authored the book with her husband, New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof. WuDunn was the featured speaker Tuesday night, Oct. 29, at the University of Rhode Islandâ€™s Honors Colloquium.
PBN: What is one of the most significant health care problems women face in developing countries?
WUDUNN: In â€śHalf The Sky,â€ť we have a section on maternal health care. Women are dying in childbirth.
PBN: Why is this happening?
WUDUNN: Thereâ€™s no system to deliver health care in these countries. Itâ€™s very complicated and there are many causes. It could be from poverty or lack of political will. Sometimes itâ€™s cultural reasons. There is no tradition of pre-natal care. A lot of these women live in poor, rural areas and they donâ€™t have the money to take a cab to a clinic, let alone pay for the doctorâ€™s visit. Every step of the way is an obstacle for them.
PBN: Do women in developing have more health problems, in general, than men?
WUDUNN: Absolutely. In India, for instance, studies show that girls under the age five are more likely than boys to die. Itâ€™s not the diseases that are killing them. Itâ€™s malnutrition. When thereâ€™s scarcity, the food goes to the males.
PBN: What are some of the other health and safety problems affecting women in the developing world?
WUDUNN: Sex trafficking, for one, but itâ€™s not just a problem â€śout there.â€ť Itâ€™s here, in the United States, too.
PBN: Why did you and your husband write â€śHalf The Skyâ€ť?
WUDUNN: We kept seeing these problems as foreign correspondents. The idea was to spread the word and awareness.