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Pulitzer Center Update September 15, 2021

Women Fighting for Their Rights, in Afghanistan and Across the Globe

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Displaced Afghans from the northern provinces are evacuated from a makeshift IDP camp in Share-e-Naw park to various mosques and schools in Kabul, Afghanistan. Image by Paula Bronstein. 2021. 

‘I am a Dreamer and All I Need is a Chance’

The abrupt departure of U.S. forces from Afghanistan has raised concerns on many fronts, none more so perhaps than the fate of millions of Afghan women and girls who face the likely loss of significant gains in education and opportunity that they achieved during the two decades of U.S. and allied occupation. The reporting by grantees Jane Ferguson and Paula Bronstein underscores the painful challenges Afghan women now face.

The struggle for the rights of women and girls is worldwide, of course, as shown in multiple other projects in recent weeks. Grantees Natalie Alcoba and Anita Pouchard Serra have reported the inspiring efforts by domestic workers in Argentina to assert their collective rights. Grantee Varsha Bansal tells a similar story about child care workers, mostly women, in India. Grantee Shakeeb Asrar exposes the appalling failure of Pakistan’s government to enforce laws on child labor and domestic workers.

For U.S. examples, there’s the eye-opening story by William & Mary Reporting Fellow Emily Topness on the ways that COVID-19 has intensified gender discrimination within Alaska’s fishing industry. WBEZ reporter Natalie Moore, our Richard C. Longworth Fellow, shares what Chicago might learn about approaches to incarceration from experiences in Finland, where incarcerated women are allowed to keep their young children with them in “open” prisons with a focus more on rehabilitation than punishment.

And lastly: the inspiring, moving story that City Colleges Chicago Reporting Fellow Imran Mohammad Fazal Hoque tells of Azimah Jalil, a Rohingya refugee from Myanmar who is now relocated in Buffalo, New York, and on her way to a nursing degree. Jalil and her family escaped Myanmar by boat in 2011 and spent nearly four years in refugee camps in Malaysia before coming to the United States. “I am a dreamer and all I need is a chance,” Jalil explains. Hoque is himself a stateless Rohingya refugee.

The Longworth Fellowship is made possible with support from the Clinton Family Foundation and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Our global work on gender equality and empowerment is supported by PIMCO. In choosing projects to support, we rely on these and other donors—and also on the great ideas we get from journalist proposals and from people like you.

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Five Pulitzer Center-supported projects have been nominated for the 2021 Online Journalism Awards.

This message first appeared in the September 14, 2021, edition of the Pulitzer Center's weekly newsletter. Subscribe today.

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