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Talks @ Pulitzer: Amy Toensing and Jessica Benko on Widows in India


Event Date:

July 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM EDT
Unwanted and Unprotected: Widows in India

When grief is compounded by cruelty: Societies of widows, battling the stigma of exclusion and the...

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Widows beg along a pilgrimage route in Govardhan, India. Devout Hindus from all over India come here to pay homage to the sacred mountain, Govardhan Hill. Many pilgrims walk barefoot and some crawl the 21km route. Image by Amy Toensing. India, 2013.

Join us on Monday, July 14, for a conversation with Pulitzer Center grantees photojournalist Amy Toensing and print and radio journalist Jessica Benko. The duo will speak about their Pulitzer Center-supported project, "Unwanted and Unprotected: Widows in India."

There are more than 35 million widows in India. A strong stigma persists, marking a widow as a poisonous presence whose own bad karma led to the death of her husband. Many widows find themselves rejected by their husbands' families as competition for family resources, a burden and a drain. Young widows, particularly those with children to support, are especially vulnerable to violence and sexual exploitation.

This talk is part of a special series of talks @ pulitzer on issues affecting women and children. The series kicked off in April 2014 with two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Larry C. Price and his work on child labor in the gold mining industry. Other topics in the series include factory workers and the role of women in Bangladesh (Jason Motlagh and Ken Weiss), aid and women's health in Nigeria (Ameto Akpe and Allison Shelley), girls' education in Afghanistan (Mellissa Fung).

Toensing is an American photojournalist committed to telling stories with sensitivity and depth and is known for her intimate essays about the lives of ordinary people. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Smithsonian, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and Time. Benko is a print and radio journalist whose work can be found in National Geographic, Wired, This American Life, and elsewhere. She is drawn to stories about the lives of people on the margins of society.

Together, the two will discuss their work documenting the lives of Indian widows, women who have been cast off by their families, and by society in general, and what this means for gender equality in India as a whole.

Please reserve your seat today: [email protected]—specify in subject line: "July 14 Talks @ Pulitzer."

Monday, July 14
5:30-7:00 pm

Pulitzer Center

1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Suite 615

Washington, DC 20036

Closest Metro: Dupont Circle

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