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Half the Sky Movement

"The Half the Sky Movement is cutting across platforms to ignite the change needed to put an end to the oppression of women and girls worldwide, the defining issue of our time. "

Photo of An Old Friend
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"Women hold up half the sky." - Mao Zedong

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is a book written by journalists Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn which brings to light the inequality and violent treatment of women, but has since become a worldwide movement. The book prompted a four-hour television series on PBS that documented the lives of women and girls living in ten different countries including Cambodia, Kenya, India, and Sierra Leone. WIth the help of A-list celebrity, the series revealed the horrors of violence and inequality that plague low-income urban cities, but also the efforts that are working to improve lives and empower women.

The website has a wealth of knowledge about women's inequality and the ways that Half the Sky is working to educate and bring solutions to many communities. One unique part of the website is a game that seeks to raise awareness and funds to empower women worldwide. A description of the game from the Facebook page:

"Half the Sky Movement: The Game is the first Facebook game with direct virtual to real-life translation; the tasks and issues portrayed in the game all have a real-world equivalent in donations and social action opportunities. Players will embark on a global journey which begins in India, and moves on to Kenya, Vietnam, and Afghanistan, ending in the U.S. Along the way, players will meet different characters and take action in a very simple way by unlocking funds from the game’s sponsors to make direct impact. For example, players can collect books for young girls in the virtual world and then activate a real-life donation of books to Room to Read (total of 250,000 books). Players can also choose to make personal donations to any of the game’s non-profit partners at any point throughout the game. NGO partners include the Fistula Foundation, GEMS, Heifer International, ONE, Room to Read, the United Nations Foundation, and World Vision."

This sparks the question:
How can gameplay bring people of all ages from around the world together to achive a common goal?

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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks Lauren for sharing. Very moving video.
One theme that is central is the idea of giving women a voice - in this case through this book, through celebrities who would go and talk about them.
There were other posts which also insisted on giving women a voice, e.g. through art work.
For the ideation phase, we might want to explore how to give girls and women a voice.
You also ask an interesting question regarding the game and the potential of game for creating awareness and raising funds. I'd love to hear what others think.
Have you played that game?

Photo of An Old Friend

Thanks, Anne-Laure! I agree the theme of giving voice to women is central.

I started the game but didn't go very far. Even within the first few moments the game brought up issues of economy, confronting male figures in the household, and the lack of medical treatment for girls. It looks like it has the potential to be very impactful.

Thanks again!

Photo of Jamie Beck Alexander

Thank you so much, Lauren, for bringing the Half the Sky movement into the conversation! Raising awareness and uniting people facing similar issues with one another and with those who can help is so important.

I was happy to learn that in addition to the Facebook game, Half the Sky has also developed a mobile phone game version where a smartphone is not necessary. Exciting development for those especially in rural areas with a mobile phone (but not a smartphone)!

Photo of An Old Friend

I didn't realize that - that's very exciting. To me, this is such a fresh approach to looking at something like women's oppression. Gameplay is a way to reach a wide and diverse audience. Thanks for the comment,

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

interesting discussion about the game. This answered I had about who would be the target audience of the game.