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Strong Women

This assignment ran from Feb 27 to Mar 27, 2017.

For our recent story on widowhood Life After Loss, published in the February 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine, we had the opportunity to feature strong women including Lalita, a young widow in India. Lalita decided to break cultural taboos around widowhood by not shaving her head and wearing bright, colorful clothing and jewelry. In Bosnia, Advija Zukic was finally able to lay her husband to rest twenty years after he was murdered in the Srebrenica genocide when thousands of Muslim men and boys were killed. In Uganda, Christine Namatovu’s children were taken and she was locked out of her own home — but she took her perpetrators to court and won; they went to prison.

Each are standing up, speaking out, and fighting for justice. These are strong women in extreme situations, but strength can also be found in a mom raising her child, a teacher giving her heart and soul to guide her students, or a scientist working against all odds for the next medical breakthrough.

For this Your Shot assignment, we want you to show us the strong women in your life.

Many of you will be submitting portraits — please do! But also try to capture these women in real, found moments. Use light and composition to help tell their story. Please include a thoughtful caption in your submission, including answering the question: “What inspires you about the woman or women you photographed?”

Selected Your Shot photographs will be also published with the Pulitzer Center Crisis on Reporting, including their website, newsletters, and Instagram (@pulitzercenter). The Pulitzer Center ( supports journalists who produce powerful and meaningful work. Your Shot is excited to partner with them on this and future 2017 assignments in our mutual desire to make a positive social impact through the power of photography and storytelling.

Strong women are everywhere — honor them, celebrate them, photograph them.

Submission deadline is March 27, 2017 at 12PM EST.

Amy Toensing
National Geographic photographer

Whitney Johnson
National Geographic Deputy Director of Photography

Curated by:

Amy Toensing
National Geographic Photographer

Whitney Johnson
National Geographic Deputy Director of Photography
Assignment Status
  • Open

    Everyone’s welcome to contribute their best shot to open assignments. Learn more.
  • Closed

    Completed assignments—with our favorite photos included—will be published online. Learn more.
  • Published

    Once the submission period is over, we'll review all contributions and select our favorite images to be included in the story. Learn more.
Published Apr 18, 2017.
Thank you for your contributions!

New Your Shot assignment: "The Love of Parents"

Posted jun 8, 2018

Hi everyone -

In case you missed it, National Geographic photographers Amy Toensing and Matt Moyer are currently curating a Your Shot assignment called "The Love of Parents." I hope you all consider participating.

David Y. Lee
Producer, Your Shot

Upcoming Your Shot assignment with Amy Toensing

Posted oct 3, 2017

Next week on Monday October 9th, I will be launching a new assignment called “Because of Her” with Nat Geo photographer Amy Toensing who previously curated our “Strong Women” and "Finding Family" story. For our “Because of Her” assignment — inspired by the October 2017 National Geographic magazine story about Jane Goodall — we are asking you to take a few minutes to think about the women in your life. Your mom, wife, sister, daughter, teacher, mentor—who are the women in your life that inspire you? Maybe you’ve witnessed her love, perseverance, and achievement. Maybe you’ve documented or experienced a special moment made possible because of her. With this Your Shot assignment, we want to celebrate and highlight how everyday women contribute to society and our personal lives.

As always, thanks for being a part of our Your Shot family.

David Y. Lee
Producer, Nat Geo Your Shot

Live Discussion Board (March 17, 2017)

Posted mar 16, 2017

Hi Your Shot community —

Thank you for submitting to our "Strong Women" assignment. Tomorrow (Friday March 17, 2017) from 1:00-2:00PM EST, we've invited a special guest to do a live discussion board chat with you. We hope you join us.

David Y. Lee
National Geographic Your Shot, Associate Photo Editor


My name is Jordan Roth, and I am a Special Projects Coordinator at the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. The Pulitzer Center has two primary focuses: 1) Supporting international journalism across all media platforms 2) Developing unique programs of outreach and education to schools and universities. Many news organizations don’t have the funding to support photographers and writers reporting on the international stories that need to be told — that is where our grants come in.

The Pulitzer Center began supporting Amy Toensing’s project, A World of Widows, when she started working on her project in India in 2013, and when she continued her reporting in Bosnia and Uganda in 2016. Early on, National Geographic also came on board to help fund Amy's project, and they published her story, Life After Loss, in the February 2017 issue of the magazine. The Pulitzer Center encouraged a multimedia component and supported Amy's video: For Widows, Life After Loss.

We have also created lesson plans to accompany Amy's reporting, as well as other projects related to women issues. The goal of our lesson plans is to allow teachers to use our reporting as tools in their classrooms. They’re also great resources if you’re just interested in digging deeper while reading the reporting yourself.

Proposing a Win for Women Worldwide
Seeking Asylum: Women and Children Migrating Across Borders
Families of Domestic Workers from the Philippines

I am on the multimedia team, and we work on anything visual, including producing and editing videos, curating exhibitions, and supporting journalists in the field. The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting has always been excited about the potential global outreach with Amy's project, and our partnership with Your Shot is just the beginning.

I will be joining Your Shot associate photo editor David Y. Lee on Friday March 17, 2017 from 1:00-2:00PM EST for a live discussion board chat — I look forward to answering your questions about the Pulitzer Center, grant writing, how to research/pitch/produce personal projects, or just about photography.

— Jordan Roth
Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, Special Projects Coordinator

Follow the Pulitzer Center

Editor's Update 02

Posted mar 14, 2017

Thanks everyone for continuing to submit inspiring and powerful images of Strong Women! In the last Editor Update, we talked about finding real moments in the context of the assignment and it’s been great to see more submissions with that in mind, like these:

Young Women in Sarajevo
A Country Doctor and Her Calling

There have also been some really nice portraits like these:

Waiting for the Future
Portrait of My Mother

A few reminders:

We are reading captions carefully, so please take the time to give us the what, why and where in addition to your thoughts about why your submission relates to the assignment.

A few of the submissions have been chosen for past Your Shot Assignment Stories. We won’t include these images in the final story for this assignment, so please only send images that have not been included in past Your Shot Stories.

Thanks and keep sending in your images of Strong Women!

Amy and Whitney

Editor's Update 01

Posted mar 8, 2017

Hello everyone and thanks for your submissions this first week of the assignment. The diverse interpretations of Strong Women are impressive and we encourage you to continue to think outside the box.

Some of the most impactful images in the submissions celebrate the relationships women cultivate as friends and mothers. Push yourself to go beyond the obvious with these themes and if you are going to look at the more common subjects like motherhood or friendship, try to make images that capture real moments — like these:

Mother of Eight

A couple quick thoughts: 

• Keep post processing to a minimum - too much color correcting can be distracting. 
• Thank you for the thoughtful captions - some really interesting stories. Please continue.

The Pulitzer Center is also sharing some of our favorite submissions in their weekly newsletter and in their Instagram story

Thanks again everyone and please keep submitting!!

Amy and Whitney

Amy Toensing

Amy Toensing

National Geographic Photographer
Amy Toensing, an American photojournalist committed to telling stories with sensitivity and depth, is known for her intimate essays about the lives of ordinary people. Toensing has been a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine for over a decade and recently completed her fifteenth feature story for them. She has covered cultures around the world including the last cave dwelling tribe of Papua New Guinea, the Maori of New Zealand and the Kingdom of Tonga. She has also covered issues such as the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and Muslim women living in Western culture. For 4 years she documented Aboriginal Australia which was published in the June, 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Whitney Johnson

Whitney Johnson

National Geographic Deputy Director of Photography