Agnes Reads

Agnes Reads for 2014-2015:

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

All Agnes Scott College students, faculty, staff and alumnae are encouraged to read Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. This inspiring book analyzes power imbalances and systematic/cultural factors that result in gender oppression. Highlighted throughout the book are successful strategies women adopt to create change in their lives and in the lives of others.  

Many of the chapters contain stories of the horrific abuses women face, but Half the Sky also offers hope for how women may achieve gender equality. It is a difficult, but stimulating, book that prompts us to think deeply about the status of girls and women, especially those fighting oppression.  

Since chapters 1-9* contain material that may trigger deeply felt emotional responses, we are starting our journey with the final chapters of this book. All Agnes Scott community members are invited to read chapters 10-14 over the summer.  

Then, throughout the academic year, we will tackle the more challenging chapters together. Invited speakers, Q&A with faculty and chapter discussion groups are just a few of the ways in which we may engage more deeply with the issues presented in Half the Sky.  

Please follow our Facebook page or Google Plus page to ensure you do not miss out on these opportunities!

Requirements for Incoming Students

  • Read chapters 10-14. 
  • Write a letter to your academic adviser describing your reaction to a story presented in these four chapters. Include a short description of the story, how it is relevant to your life, interests, or goals, whether you were already familiar with the issues presented, and how it may shape your future aspirations. Submit your letter through the Adviser Letter form.  We have created detailed instructions and two sample letters (Sample One | Sample Two) to help guide you in writing your letter.  Deadline for submission is Friday, August 1st.
  • Attend Book Discussion Group during orientation.

Past Agnes Reads Selections

Past Agnes Reads books have included The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer, Outcasts United by Warren St. John and Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman.


Casey Long, Co-chair of the Agnes Reads Committee, is your current contact for the Agnes Reads. She can be contacted at

* Chapters 1-9 contain descriptions of abuse and rape that may not be suitable for all audiences. 

Book Cover


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