Half the Sky at Cybher UK Blogger Event

Posted on May 18, 2012, by Sian To, Cybher

On Saturday, May 12, 2012, central London was alive as 300 of the most influential bloggers and speakers from all corners of the blogosphere attended Cybher, the first all-inclusive female blogger event of its kind in the UK.

Speakers included some of the biggest names in UK blogging but the session that everyone was talking about was Half the Sky.

I read Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide the day after I returned from my first charity trip to Bangladesh in 2010 and I was deeply affected by what I read. I couldn’t put it down and read it from cover to cover in a single sitting.

I was outraged. Outraged at myself for not knowing that women were suffering in such horrific ways around the world and I felt very lucky to be living here in middle England in a house that I own, with a husband that loves, respects and supports me in everything I do.

I spent a week in a bit of a daze before I began to read Half the Sky again. This time I went slowly, marking pages, making notes, thinking all the time of things that I could do to help.

I wanted everyone to read the book; I’ve bought copies for friends, sending them around the world, imploring them to read. I’ve lost count of just how many copies I’ve bought in the last two years!

So when it came to my conference, Cybher, I was always going to be talking about Nicholas and Sheryl’s book.

When you are passionate about something it’s not difficult to find others who share your views and so with friends Jennifer Begg (Live Free Range), Christine Mosler (Thinly Spread) and Liz Scarff (@LizScarff) we sat down to discuss how reading Half the Sky had impacted on each of our lives.

The room was packed as we heard how following her mother’s death and reading Half, Jennifer had, with the help of her community, built a school in Cambodia in memory of her mum. She was inspired by what she read and what better legacy could her mum leave than the gift of education?


Attendees at Cybher watch the Half the Sky trailer (Courtesy Sian To)

We sat in silence as the standing room only crowd soaked up the trailer for the new documentary; before the session was over people started logging onto Amazon and buying copies of the book. Our words and encouragement had inspired them to reach for the sky too. It was a wonderful hour of togetherness and sisterhood.

In two days I’m heading off to Niger with World Vision. My aim? To raise awareness of the pre-famine emergency and to meet some of the inspirational women who have fought back and stood up for what they believe in. Amazing women who put their lives at risk everyday by challenging child marriage, underage sex and persecution.

I’ll be blogging my whole trip over on Geekisnewchic.com and you can follow me via the #ShareNiger tag on Twitter (@geekisnewchic). Please do get behind us. Every tweet and mention helps our cause.

Sian To was the organizer of Cybher.