Walter Astrada and Brian Storm received the duPont Award for their web documentary Undesired. The film explores the condition of women in India, and the violence and discrimination that they endure.
India is a diverse country, separated by class and ethnicity. But all women confront the cultural pressure to bear a son. This preference cuts through every social divide, from geography to economy.
This preference originates from the belief that men bring in money while women, because of their expensive dowry costs money, which is a financial burden. As a result, there is a constant disregard for the lives of women and girls. From birth until old age, women face a constant threat of violence and too frequently, death.
The numbers are staggering. Since 1980, an estimated 40 million women are ‘missing,’ by way of abortion, neglect or murder. 7,000 female fetuses are aborted every day according to the U.N., aborted solely because they are girls. One dowry death is reported every 77 minutes. Countless others are never known.
The government has tried to intervene. Dowry and sex selective abortions are illegal. Yet both practices still thrive, in large part because of deep-rooted cultural prejudices.
Today, eighty percent of Indian states are facing a shortage of women. To compensate for this differential, young, unknowing women are bought from surrounding countries like Bangladesh and sold to young bachelors. Not knowing a word of the language, these trafficked women now face the same kinds of violence as Indian women.
Walter Astrada was born in 1974 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 1996 he started his career as staff photographer in La Nacion newspaper. In 1999 he traveled around Brazil, Chile, Bolivia and Peru developing a personal project on “Faith”.
In September 1999 he joined Associated Press in Bolivia and later in Argentina. From 2000 to 2002 he worked for the Associated Press based in Paraguay, from where he covered events in Latin America and World Cup Korea-Japan 2002. In 2003 he worked as a freelancer in Buenos Aires and Madrid.
At the end of 2003 he joined again the Associated Press and was based in the Dominican Republic, covering events in the Caribbean . From March 2005 until March 2006 he worked as a freelancer for Agence France Presse in the Dominican Republic and was represented and distributed by World Picture News.
In March 2006 he moved to Spain where he is working as a freelancer. In 2008 and 2009 he covered Eastern Africa as a freelancer and stringer for AFP out of Uganda.
Currently he is working on a long-term project about violence against women. Also he teaches photographic workshops .
Since February 2010 he is represented exclusively by Reportage by Getty Images.