The Press Start Network

Find and connect with journalists working on Press Start campaigns

Tag Archive : Women’s rights

Lili Rutai

I am a freelance Hungarian journalist, and my goal is to shine a light on social inequalities in the country, with a pinch of feminism. 

At the age of 10 I was writing, editing, illustrating, printing and selling a school newspaper. When I was 16 years old, I started my internship at a fashion newspaper during the summer holiday. After graduating, I started a media and communication course at ELTE in Budapest, one of the best universities in Hungary. 

While studying journalism, I interned at various media outlets. I wrote many articles about fashion, tourism, Budapest, some of them in English. I spent one semester in the UK as an Erasmus student to make my writing in English better. 

In my second year, my interest became clear: I wanted to become a journalist, but instead of fashion I was pretty sure I wanted to cover social injustice, feminism, poverty, and other social issues. One serious issue affecting thousands of Hungarian women is period poverty.

At the age of 21, my feature article on a rehab for teenage boys ran in one of the most prestigious literary and political papers in the country, Élet és Irodalom. 

At the age of 22, I started my feminist blog, and I was asked to write for an independent online newspaper’s blog about women and feminism. I still publish on that site, Átlátszó.hu.

As a freelancer, and as a young woman, I find it challenging to be considered serious. I think that this is one of the reasons I started calling myself a feminist, and this is why I started talking and writing about matters affecting women. 

In the past few months I graduated and began a master’s program in sociology, received stipends to go to Morocco and Italy to write about poverty and migration, and started my feminist podcast. I worked undercover on a project I cannot name yet, and I had more stories published by Hungarian news outlets.  

I believe that I am really lucky: I have had the chance to go to school and later to university, my family supported me so I could do free internships, and as a result, I am making a living from what I love: writing. I have traveled to many places and learned foreign languages.

I think my responsibility is to help those who are not so lucky, especially young girls and women. I believe journalism is a great way to do that: I can call attention to serious difficulties that are not addressed enough. Period poverty, for example. 

Many NGOs, schools and other establishments that work with children and young adults in Hungary have confirmed my suspicion: many young women face period poverty every day. The few campaigns to distribute female hygiene products have been very popular, but none lasted longer than a year. One campaign organizer told me their initiative simply couldn’t deliver needed products to all the girls and women in need.

There is an easy way for the state to ease the burden of period poverty: by cutting the tampon tax, so that female hygiene products benefit from the same lower rates as other basic needs. But the Hungarian government just decided against cutting the tampon tax, although at 27 % the tax is exorbitant, compared to other European countries. 

The Hungarian media is not in the best position to cover this issue: I know newspapers that are interested in publishing these articles, but I cannot get funding for my projects. Most newspapers are government-owned and would not cover topics like this, and the independent ones that I work for don’t have enough money. Still, I believe that this idea is worth it, and I hope that crowdfunding will be the solution. 

Campaigns on Press Start:

Period poverty: Hungary’s silent scourge 

Is period poverty becoming extinct? Many EU countries have slashed the “tampon tax” and the UK is moving toward abolishing it completely, like at least 20 U.S. states. Not so in Hungary, where women and girls live with the highest tax on female hygiene products in the EU. The major media – beholden to the nationalist government – ignore the issue. So one young Hungarian journalist and feminist decided to investigate the problem herself. Press Start will match all contributions made to her campaign, so your dollars will go twice as far.

Agnieszka Wądołowska

Agnieszka always wanted to write inspirational, gripping stories. She became a journalist to give voice to those who dare to follow their own path and pave the way for others as well as those who require help and support, but are institutionally neglected.

Aga is a print and online journalist who is managing editor at Notes from Poland, an independent news outlet published in English.

She believes it’s an important time to understand Poland – a one-time paragon of successful democratic transformation following the fall of communism – as it is becoming increasingly illiberal with its judiciary independence compromised and civil liberties threatened.

For years, Aga worked for the Polish mainstream media covering women’s rights issues including abortion tourism, feminist activism, and domestic violence. Most recently she has been covering mass protests around Poland sparked by the constitutional court’s ruling that introduces a near total ban on abortion.

Reporting focus

social injustice and women’s rights issues ranging from abortion tourism and feminist activism to domestic violence

Previous publications

Current position

Media outlets she has been writing for

Press Start Campaigns

Agnieszka Wądołowska, Kinga Rajzak

Poland and Hungary Turn Blind Eye to Rampant Domestic Abuse

The chaos unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic has emboldened Poland and Hungary – two of the most patriarchal and conservative countries in the European Union – to brazenly snub nationally and internationally ratified women’s rights conventions and initiatives that provide protection against domestic abuse.

Kinga Rajzak

KINGA RAJZAK

HUNGARY

Kinga got into journalism by chance, and immediately knew she had found her calling. She is inspired by the noble mission of journalism to uncover the truth and tell pressing stories.

Today, Kinga is a multimedia journalist who has reported on art and culture for various magazines and shot breaking news packages covering politics, policy, and various social causes. She assisted CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on his renowned show, GPS, and aided the channel’s flagship business show Quest Means Business, anchored by Richard Quest.

Kinga has freelanced for Pulitzer Prize-awarded journalist Sara Ganim on multiple projects, among them the documentary No Defense. She also worked as an editor on the short documentary I Hope You Are Doing Well that showcases parallel experiences of the pandemic around the globe recorded and narrated by the film’s protagonists.

Kinga is most thrilled to undertake long investigative challenges that focus on real human stories and have the potential to have a lasting impact.

Currently, Kinga is freelancing for multiple outlets. She lives between New York and Budapest.

Reporting focus

women’s rights, sustainability, repurposing food waste, LGBTQ laws

Click here to see Agnieszka Wądołowska, Kinga Rajzak ‘s reporting proposal.

Press Start campaigns:

Poland and Hungary Turn Blind Eye to Rampant Domestic Abuse

The chaos unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic has emboldened Poland and Hungary – two of the most patriarchal and conservative countries in the European Union – to brazenly snub nationally and internationally ratified women’s rights conventions and initiatives that provide protection against domestic abuse.