The world’s most oppressed people are mostly female. I’m not making this up. Kate Marshall Storm and Michele Rickett tell us that women and children make up:
- 80% of the world’s refugees.
- 70% of the poorest of the poor.
- 2/3 of the world’s illiterate.
- 4 million annual victims of human traffickers
- 80 percent of those who have never heard of Jesus Christ. (15)
Because women and girls are oppressed, focusing on bringing justice to them in their situation improves the lot of us all. Societies which champion justice for women and girls are more just societies than those who don’t. In Forgotten Girls: Stories of Hope and Courage Strom and Rickett share hopeful but heartbreaking and harrowing stories of women around the world. The newly updated edition (the book was originally published in 2009) is expanded and includes a discussion guide for each of the five parts: I. Physical Life, II. Educational Life, III. Sexual Protection for Life, IV. Freedom in Life, and V. Spiritual Life. These broad headings represent the issues that women and girls face in the two-thirds world. Each section tells stories of particular places and women, The discussion guide explores the stories, relevant Bible passages and provides suggestions for taking action.
Issues of global injustice are a big deal but we often like to leave things abstract. The statistics which I quoted above come from the introduction of this book. We hear statistics like these and we don’t know what to make of them. What could we possibly do? That or our eyes glaze over from one more statistic. One of the best things about Forgotten Girls is that Strom and Rickett lift these issues from the realm of abstraction and explores real women’s stories. We don’t just hear about ‘gendercide’ and gender inequity in regards to malnutrition, We hear about Beti’s abandonment and enslavement in Indonesia, and the abject poverty of Sonam and Pema in Tibet. We explore gender disparities in education through Mai Lin’s story as an AIDS orphan in China and Preethi’s experience in India (as an ‘untouchable’). We hear stories of girls breaking free from the sex trade, injustice and experiencing new life in Christ. There are seventeen places profiled and each tells stories of real-life struggles that women face across the nations. Thankfully these are stories of hope so we hear how these women and girls have found help and new life!
One thing I really appreciate about the study guide are the practical steps for action and prayer as we seek to combat injustice. This is a short book which will enlarge your heart for God’s justice to come. I give this book four-and-a-half stars. This is perfect for those wishing to understand the injustices women face across the globe. As the father of two young girls I am saddened and angered by those who would exploit the vulnerability of children, but this book made me grateful for the good work being done in the name of Christ. It also showed me ways to be a part of it! Great stuff.
Thank you to IVP for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review