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Skirball Cultural Center

2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049 - (310) 440-4500

Women Hold Up Half the Sky Women Hold Up Half the Sky images

About the Exhibition

The traveling exhibition Women Hold Up Half the Sky was inspired by the critically acclaimed book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

Featuring documentary photographs, visual art, sound installations, and interactive opportunities for visitors to get involved, Women Hold Up Half the Sky is a wake-up call to the injustices perpetrated against women worldwide and the ways we can effect change.

Confronting the malign persistence of sex trafficking, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality, the exhibition tells stories of women from around the globe who have changed their lives through education, economics, and self-determination. Among them is Saima Muhammad, who lived in fear of her abusive husband and whose community ignored her suffering until she received a $65 microloan and built an embroidery business that now supports thirty families in her Pakistani village. The exhibition also spotlights visionaries like Edna Adan Ismail, the former first lady of Somalia, who used her life savings to build a maternity hospital in war-torn Somaliland, prompting donations and support from all over the world.

Experience these tales of perseverance, courage, and hope—and celebrate how individuals can be part of workable solutions. The exhibition will be traveling soon! Check back for an updated tour schedule.

Change is possible…and it can happen quickly.

About the Authors

Nicholas D. Kristof Sheryl WuDunn

Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are co-authors of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Kristof writes an Op-Ed column for The New York Times. WuDunn is an investment advisor, with a focus on philanthropy. Together, they won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of China. They have also won a George Polk Award and an Overseas Press Club Award.

Kristof also won a second Pulitzer Prize for his commentary on human rights issues, along with the Michael Kelly Award, the Online News Association Award, and the ASNE Award. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College and then studied law at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, graduating with first-class honors.

WuDunn, the first Asian American to win a Pulitzer, has been an executive at The New York Times and worked in finance at Goldman Sachs and Bankers Trust. She graduated from Cornell University, and has master's degrees from Harvard Business School and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School.

Together, they have also written two previous books about Asia: Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia and China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power.

Hear an excerpt of the inspiring talk delivered by Nicholas D. Kristof on opening night of the exhibition at the Skirball.

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President's Note

During Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, hundreds of prayers are intoned. Among these ancient prayers, there is one that has always had special meaning for me. It takes place at the conclusion of the Day of Atonement. It is a prayer in which God is said to open the book of memories, and find there the fingerprints of every human being. The assumption is that in order for us to be listed in the book of memories, we must touch someone with good deeds. We are mandated to feed, clothe, heal, and counsel all who are destitute, struck down, impoverished, sick, young and old, men and women.

There is much sorrow in this world, but there is also joy. Perhaps there is no joy greater or more glorious than having left our fingerprints by uplifting the downtrodden and the many strangers in our midst. We are commanded not to stand idle while our neighbors bleed. These are the teachings that have inspired the Skirball Cultural Center to produce the exhibition Women Hold Up Half the Sky.

Fingerprints remain behind to stir our memories and keep us aware of the benediction to which our lives amount. It is my hope that the fingerprints we leave behind are powerhouses for good. For such power is meant to be everlasting.

Uri D. Herscher
Founding President and CEO, Skirball Cultural Center

Exhibition Partners

The William C. Bannerman Foundation
Jo Bernard
Carsey Family Foundation
Rebekah and Howard Farber
Phyllis K. Friedman
Miriam Muscarolas and Grant Abramson
Eileen Harris Norton Foundation
Eugene and Ruth Roberts
Fredric M. Roberts
Roth Family Foundation
Ariane and Alienor Sauvage

BoeingCommonwealth CaresGirl Effect
HiltonJewish World WatchJoin Fite
The Gas CompanyThe Specialty Family FoundationThe Women's Foundation of California

Media Sponsors:

KPCCLos Angeles Magazine



Exhibition Dates

October 27, 2011–May 20, 2012


Included with Museum admission:

  • $10 General
  • $7 Seniors and Full-Time Students
  • $5 Children 2–12
  • FREE to Members and Children under 2
  • FREE to all on Thursdays

Museum Hours

12:00–5:00 p.m.
10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Closed Mondays


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