In Memory: AP Photographer Anja Niedringhaus killed in Afghanistan

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Anja Niedringhaus, 48, died this week after being shot by an Afghan police officer while on assignment for the Associated Press. Reporter Kathy Gannon, 60, was also injured in the attack, according to news reports.

Both women were seasoned journalists who have spent years in the region, according to the Associated Press. They were traveling with election officials in the Khost province of Afghanistan at the time.

Niedringhaus’ career included stints working in various conflict zones for more than 20 years, earning a Pulitzer Price along with a team of AP photographers in 2005 for coverage of the Iraq war as well as a Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Here is a round-up of coverage of the attack and tributes to Niedringhaus and her work:

Read a bio of Niedringhaus from the International Women’s Media Foundation here, as well as a 2012 interview with both Niedringhaus and Gannon. Read Niedringhaus’ own reflections on her work from 2012 in this piece from Nieman Report: Common Ground. A book of her work “Anja Niedringhaus: At War” was released in 2012.

Update: Other links to coverage shared by readers:


Women making history in 2012 Olympics

With the 2012 Summer Olympic games less than two weeks away, many countries are finalizing team rosters and the athletes who will represent them in the world competition.

Saudi Arabia allows first female athletes

Two stories in this week’s coverage leading up to the games, however, focused on the female athletes who will take part in the London games. For the first time, all of the 204 countries participating will include female athletes. This milestone came once Saudi Arabia announced this week it would send two women to compete in judo and the 800-meter race. Two other countries, Qatar and Brunei, will send women to the games for the first time as well. One of Qatar’s three female athletes, Bahiya al-Ahmad, will carry her country’s flag in the opening ceremonies.

Once the Saudi Embassy in London announced they would allow a female athlete who could qualify to compete, it became clear that no women in the country had met the qualifying times. According to the Wall Street Journal, an International Olympic Committee spokeswoman said both Saudi athletes were accepted under the Olympics’ “universality” clause, which allows athletes who didn’t meet qualifying times to compete when their participation is deemed important for reasons of equality.

Despite international coverage, Saudi media outlets still did not highlight the announcement. According to the Associated Press, both athletes live outside the kingdom and carry almost no influence as sports figures. The nation still bans women from driving or traveling without the approval of a male guardian. While girl’s sports are effectively banned in the nation’s schools, viewers of mixed audiences will be able to watch the women compete.

United States’ team brings more female athletes than male

In another first for the Olympic Games, team U.S.A. will have more female athletes than males at this year’s games, prompting USA Today to call the event the “Title IX Olympics.” The 530-member team is comprised of 269 women and 261 men. In comparison, 2008’s team in Bejing had a roster of 310 men and 286 women.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the shift in numbers can be explained more through changes to sports included or removed from this year’s roster, as well as the U.S. men’s soccer team’s failure to qualify. Softball and baseball were both removed in 2012, but the first female boxer from the United States and the qualification of the women’s field hockey team added athletes to the final total. Women also represent the youngest and oldest athletes to compete for the United States.

In the last 40 years, women’s participation in the summer games has more than tripled, making them 45 percent of the 2012 athletes. Until the 1984 Los Angeles Games, women were not allowed to run a marathon. Less than 20 years ago, at the 1996 Atlanta Games, 26 countries did not send women.

“The I.O.C. has been striving to ensure a greater gender balance at the Olympic Games, and today’s news can be seen as an encouraging evolution,” Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, said Thursday in a statement about the participation of Saudi women.

The opening ceremony for the London games will be held July 27.

This is the Gender Report’s Week in Review, a weekly post that highlights some of the major stories related to gender issues this week. Some of these stories may have already appeared in our News Feed. We’ll at times include a longer analysis of stories as well as bring attention to stories that may have slipped through the cracks of the week’s news cycle.

Weiner resigns, highlights gender differences in political performance

The past week’s events in politics have brought a new attention to the presence, or lack thereof, of women in political positions.

Anthony Weiner, who resigned this week from Congress after his lewd online behavior became public, was just the latest male politician to be criticized for inappropriate sexual behavior while in office. His announcement followed the tails of former presidential candidate John Edwards’ criminal trial for his alleged use of campaign funds to cover up his affair in 2008. The Gender Report also has covered the actions of former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and IMF chair Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Several news commentators used the latest scandal to point to gender differences in politicians’ actions and approaches to their elected offices. The New York Times reported that women in the House introduce more bills, participate more vigorously in key legislative debates and give more of the one-minute speeches that open each daily session. In 2005 and 2006, women averaged 14.9 one-minute speeches; men averaged 6.5. Kathryn Pearson, the researcher behind this data, commented that “ women in Congress are still really in a situation where they have to prove themselves to their male colleagues and constituents. There’s sort of this extra level of seriousness.”

The Associated Press reported that voters believe female elected officials are more likely to focus on their jobs and less prone than men to distraction or scandal.

Women currently hold 16.6 percent of the 535 seats in Congress and 23.5 percent of the seats in state legislatures. There are 6 female governors; of the 100 big-city mayors, 8 are women. Looking ahead to the 2012 presidential race, Rep. Michele Bachmann is currently the only female candidate for the GOP.

The New York Daily News commented that Weiner’s scandal actually could help female candidates who may run for his vacated seat, because they could capitalize on voters seeing all male candidates as having the potential for another scandal or inappropriate behavior while in office.

Other reports pointed to underlying gender differences in sexualized behavior that happens regardless of the person leading a public or private life. Virginia Rutter, writing for CNN,  noted that Americans gravitate towards political sex scandals as another manifestation of men’s exploitation of power and the victimization angle of the women involved. A Washington Times article spoke to some of the women involved with Weiner online who say the disagree with the victim-like labels. At this time only one of the women he messaged or contacted online has been identified as a minor.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm told the AP  women succeed in office in part because they bring many “traditionally female” qualities to the job like a willingness to build consensus and seek solutions rather than fights.

“Men in power get a lot more attention from the opposite sex than women do. The temptation of that, the flattery, the ego is more pervasive as a result… Women in office typically don’t have men coming onto us. We’re so busy trying to get the family together, multitasking and getting the job done.”

This is the Gender Report’s Week in Review, a weekly post that highlights some of the major stories related to gender issues this week. Some of these stories may have already appeared in our News Feed or in the week’s Gender Checks. We’ll at times include a longer analysis of stories as well as bring attention to stories that may have slipped through the cracks of the week’s news cycle.