This quarter we’re celebrating the work the Pulitzer Center has supported about and by women and non-binary individuals around the world.
Gender equity issues are inseparable from today’s systemic crises, from climate change and deforestation to migration and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pulitzer Center’s journalism and public outreach initiatives are amplifying the voices of women around the world, and highlighting the multitude of ways they are rising above challenges.
Recent investigations by Pulitzer Center grantees told stories of Afro-feminist movements in the Dominican Republic, rising maternal deaths in Brazil, sexism embedded in widely used AI tools, South Korean women rejecting patriarchal structures, and women peacebuilders in Congo.
The Pulitzer Center has been raising awareness of gender equity issues through journalism, education, and public outreach since 2006. We have supported over 250 projects on gender equality worldwide, resulting in over 1,200 stories on women and LGBTQIA+ issues that have reached diverse audiences worldwide. Our K-12 Education team has produced over 80 resources for educators and students, with lesson plans exploring reproductive health, migration, and justice systems through a gender lens.
Additional highlights from this quarter include the conclusion of the second 1619 Education Network and 1619 Education Conference, a deep dive into the collagen industry’s connections to Amazon deforestation, in-depth reporting marking the first anniversary of war in Ukraine, and the launch of a multi-part PBS NewsHour series on health-access disparities for rural Americans.
Explore more from Q1 below! We are grateful to PIMCO and our many supporters for making our work on gender and so many other issues a reality.
JON SAWYER, CEO & PRESIDENT
So far in 2023, we supported
49 projects • 59 journalists • in 41 countries
resulting in more than 200 stories
The Pulitzer Center empowers a global community of journalists and media outlets to deepen engagement with critical underreported issues, bridging divides and spurring change. Highlights of our impact:
RIN Fellow Elisângela Mendonça from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism uncovered for the first time the destructive effects of the collagen industry in the Amazon rainforest. She followed the deforestation and money trails to top brands like Nestlé, prompting a Nestlé subsidiary to declare it would end sourcing from the Amazon region.
A groundbreaking investigation by AI Accountability Fellow Gabriel Geiger for Lighthouse Reports and WIRED exposed the biases embedded in welfare algorithms that are making life-changing decisions for millions of people. Experts called the work a “new milestone in algorithmic accountability reporting."
In a deeply reported series for Folha de S.Paulo, grantee Cláudia Collucci revealed a sharp increase in maternal deaths in Brazil to levels not seen in 25 years. The majority of women are dying of preventable causes, and rates are higher for Black and Indigenous women.
AI Accountability Fellow Hilke Schellmann and guest contributor Gianluca Mauro investigated how AI tools used by platforms like Microsoft and Google rate pictures of women as “sexually suggestive” at higher rates than similar pictures of men, therefore suppressing their online presence.
For The Guardian, grantees Hugh Kinsella Cunningham and Sifa Bahati, and guest contributor Camille Maubert, documented how women, often hit hardest by the Congo’s intractable wars, are mediating local conflicts, hoping to end decades of violence.
In stories for The Cut and The Atlantic, grantee Anna Sussman reported on how entrenched gender inequality and patriarchal structures help explain a growing movement among South Korean women who refuse to date, marry, or have children.
When you have massive data projects, you understand why newsrooms get together. It takes a village for big ambitious data projects. You need to partner up early and have as many people excited about it as possible.
JESSICA BRICE, RIN FELLOW
Pulitzer Center Reporting Fellowships empower university students and recent graduates to tell stories that impact the world around them. The fellowships also help launch careers by creating networks and developing journalism skills that will serve Fellows well, no matter the field they pursue.
We’re currently in the process of selecting our 2023 cohort of Reporting Fellows from our 42 Campus Consortium partner universities. This year, we have already awarded two climate science and two global health inequities fellowships for 2023.
Madeline Hart from Georgetown University reported on the role religion plays in ending female genital cutting in Guinea. She highlights the importance of involving women in the movement, finding that their rights and consent are too often ignored.
Laura Frances Goodfield from The George Washington University reported on gender equity in urban design and public transportation for Yes! magazine. It may very well be the women of Berlin who shape the future in Germany and beyond.
Natalia Perez-Gonzalez from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University traveled to the Dominican Republic to report for The Nation on Afro-feminist movements to push for comprehensive sex education, a cultural shift, and exceptions to a total abortion ban.
As a result of watching Justin break down his own work as well as some world-class photographs, I've gained a new appreciation for making pictures and gleaned invaluable insights into how I can be more deliberate in my own photo-making endeavors.
Will Zimmerman, wake forest STUDENT & workshop participant
88 events reaching more than 2,600 people
Our outreach programming brings journalists from diverse identities and experiences to universities, colleges, and public forums to amplify Pulitzer Center reporting, build public awareness and understanding of complex issues, inspire journalism-informed action, build networks, and bridge divides. Highlights of our impact:
For the fourth time in five years, we created a for-credit photojournalism workshop with Wake Forest University. Grantee Justin Cook led sessions with students developing independent photo essays. We consider this seminar a model program of student engagement, skills-building, and connection with community. We aim to build on it with other partners.
Our multi-year series on religious nationalism concluded with an in-person convening at Georgetown University. With partners at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, we brought Syed Taha Kaleem, Yonat Shimron, and Zeba Warsi to campus for a public event, private workshop, and student journalism luncheon.
As part of our Bringing Stories Home initiative, we partnered with WHRO and the Fox Hill Neighborhood Center to host a town hall-style event in Hampton, Virginia. Panelists discussed historical and racial legacies that contribute to housing problems, the impacts of being unhoused, and the City of Hampton’s inadequate response.
Thank you to WHRO for giving us a neutral platform to have our voices heard.
HAMPTON ROADS RESIDENT & PANEL ATTENDEE
Engaging Global Audiences
The International Education and Outreach team published a 2022 Annual Report with results and highlights from the year. The goal of increasing the impact of journalism on society, and guaranteeing more engagement and action in different and crucial climate hotspots worldwide, becomes clearer through this work.
The Southeast Asia Outreach initiative organized a photo exhibition called Passing for Protection, held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in February, where a private viewing with influencers, students, and RIN Fellows took place.
A Climate and Labor regional symposium was held in Congo, bringing together 200 participants in-person and 81 online—including students, climate and environment activists, entrepreneurs, labor movements, journalists, teachers, education ministries, lawyers, and workers.
The global Climate and Labor conference will be hosted at the University of Coimbra on April 19 and 20, with programming in four languages.
In collaboration with Scripps College and other institutions within the Claremont Colleges consortium, we convened a forum on reproductive justice featuring scholars, advocates, and grantees Dina Gachman and Naipanoi Lepapa.
We joined with PIMCO Foundation and our grantees to create two Fireside Chats for Women’s History Month. Jane Ferguson spoke first with Ana Santos and then with Amie Ferris-Rotman and Zahra Joya. The conversations for PIMCO clients and public audiences ranged from reproductive rights to female political leaders and stressed the importance of field reporting to decipher spin from reality, especially on gender.
Grantees Jane Ferguson and Zahra Joya participated in a gender forum at the University of California, Berkeley, a Campus Consortium partner, to bring attention to the fight for women’s rights in Afghanistan and Iran.
I loved getting to meet Muslims like myself working in journalism and anthropology. Their perspective changed the way I view the intersection of my career and my identity.
Meriam Ahmad, GEORGETOWN STUDENT & WORKSHOP PARTICIPANT
135 events • 11 curricular resources
reaching more than 4,462 students
and over 1,000 teachers
The Pulitzer Center education programs work to extend the impact of journalism and cultivate a more curious, informed, empathetic, and engaged public by connecting students and teachers around the world with underreported global news stories and the journalists who cover them.
In the first quarter of the year, the K-12 Education team published high-engagement resources, including our 1619 Docuseries Viewing Guides, and explored new resource formats, like our Pulitzer Center News Quizzes. One exciting resource is a planning tool designed by alumni of the 1619 Education Network that helps teachers better identify and frame materials used to teach about identity, marginalization, and oppression. The tool was shared with 79 other educators during a webinar.
Our second annual 1619 Education Conference highlighted the creative ways that over 150 educators from the 2022 1619 Project Education Network and Afterschool Programs used the Project in and outside classroom settings, and engaged participants in hands-on workshops utilizing 1619 Project resources. The two-day conference had 2,832 registrants and 714 unique participants, with each session averaging 242 attendees.
Engaging Students and Educators
Outside of the U.S.
The Congo Basin Education initiative led a curriculum review in Congo. In February, experts from the Ministry of Education reviewed primary and secondary school curricula to determine if content and textbooks satisfactorily cover the concepts of environmental protection, tropical forest protection, and climate change. The participants made a number of recommendations to the Congolese government, partners, and teachers.
Aditya Wardhana, our Impact Seed Funding (ISF) 2022 project lead at Universitas Multimedia Nusantara, started the environmental journalism module in his university in January. With 40 students enrolled, this class features three Rainforest Journalism Fund stories in different lesson plans. The ISF also secured a partnership with the Research Center for Climate Change (RCCC) at Universitas Indonesia—one of the most notable research centers at Indonesia's largest campus.
Sixty-five educators and journalists supported K-12 education events this quarter. 69.4% of those K-12 education events for students and educators this quarter were led by women, and 2% by non-binary people. Dedicated marketing for Black History Month and Women’s History Month led to an increased diversity of journalists supporting the Virtual Journalist Visit Program.
Over 500 students took action on systemic issues by writing to their local representatives through the Local Letters for Global Change contest. Many students, including six of the 20 contest finalists, focused on solutions to issues that disproportionately impact women and gender minorities, such as reproductive rights and menstrual health.
I feel that in today's media, we see what the algorithm, and what large news companies, want us to see. However, I often find myself wondering about other stories that just aren't portrayed in much of the news that I see.
High School student in Palo Alto, California
over 16 awards and citations received in Q1
A Terrorist Threat or A Cry for Help, a film that's part of a Pulitzer Center-supported project and was released by the Dallas Morning News, won Best Short Documentary and Best Student Female Director in the Independent Shorts Awards on February 22, 2023.
Photojournalist and Pulitzer Center grantee Alessandro Cinque won a regional award in the 2023 World Press Photo Contest in the South America, Stories category for his Pulitzer Center-supported project, Alpaqueros.
Rainforest Investigations Network Fellow Yao-Hua Law won the prestigious Sigma Award for data journalism. In an announcement via Twitter on March 19, 2023, Law celebrated the competition’s first win for a Malaysian entry.
Support for the Pulitzer Center this year came from Art for Justice Fund, Arnold Ventures, our Campus Consortium partner schools, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Facebook Journalism Project, Fore River Foundation, Hartfield Foundation, Henry L. Kimelman Family Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Humanity United, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Julian Grace Foundation, Laudes Foundation, Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, One Earth Fund, Open Society Foundations, PIMCO Foundation, Poklon Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Trellis Charitable Fund, Walton Family Foundation, and Wellspring Philanthropic Fund.
This broad mix of foundation funding, along with continued core support from members of the Pulitzer family, board members, and many other generous individuals, ensures the independent journalism and education that is essential to our mission in these times. We are grateful to all who continue to sustain our work. We hope that others will join.