Sky’s the limit: Towson club aims to better the lives of women globally

By: Christine LaFrancesca, Staff Writer

“Turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide” is the motto of members of the organization “Half the Sky” nationwide.

Heavily influenced by the book written by married couple Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, “Half the Sky” strives to educate the public about the oppression of women and its global social and economic effects on societies.

“Our goal is to raise awareness on campus of the issues that women face globally,” vice president Aida Weldeghebriel said. “This can range from human sex trafficking to girls education, all of which are important.”

Junior international studies major Jourdan Green joined the “Half the Sky” club three years ago during her first semester at Towson and is now the group’s president.

“Just being a part of ‘Half the Sky’ is amazing, and being president is incredible,” Green said. “I love being able to show and educate people of the plight of women all around the world. This cause is important and facing the harsh truths of what happens to women in other countries is a necessity.”

Each semester, Green organizes a screening of the documentary “Half the Sky” welcome to all students. The group coordinates these screenings with the hope that it will inspire thought-provoking conversation about marginalized women around the world.

“We show ‘Half the Sky’ every semester because it’s a great visual representation of what is happening to our people,” Green said. “It’s also incredibly important to us that we get a diverse group of students interested and we think one of the ways to do that is to show this documentary and get people interested in helping towards our cause.”

Along with showing the film each semester, Green expresses the club’s dedication to House of Ruth, a safe haven for women in children who are trying to escape domestic abuse situations in the Baltimore area.

“Working with House of Ruth is going to be awesome, just because we’ve been waiting so long to be able to collaborate with them,” Green said. “We are helping them with a clothing drive in December. This is crucial for us because it’s our chance to educate. House of Ruth has done amazing things for women and children who need help. Just being a part of something with them is inspiring.”

Showing the negative effects of women’s oppression and suffrage while implementing strategies for positive change is the mission of the group.

“Joining this club has been one of the best decisions I’ve made since I came to Towson,” Green said. ”Not only are we trying to do more community service, but we also want to collaborate with the crisis hotlines. Either volunteering or somehow otherwise working with them, we are constantly trying to find ways to help out while also getting new people interested.”

A central goal of the group is to improve the lives of women beyond the Towson community.

“I want Towson to learn that half the sky is a group of passionate individuals that want to truly make a change in the future of girls worldwide,” Weldeghebriel said. “We want to improve the lives of these girls so that they can live happy, fulfilling lives.”

Interested in finding out more about Half the Sky? E-mail Marjani Cephus at for more details.

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