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Trailblazing Women You May Not Know (But Should): Sheryl WuDunn

Each week, the Lean In tumblr will spotlight women who made a lasting mark on the world — yet didn’t always end up in the history books. This week we celebrate Sheryl WuDunn, the first Asian-American to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Sheryl WuDunn was raised to speak out against injustice. My grandmother’s feet were bound in China,” she said. As she grew up she learned that if people didn’t speak up for others, “My mother’s feet would have been bound, then my feet would have been bound." 

A third generation Chinese-American, Sheryl WuDunn was born in 1959 and grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. She graduated from Cornell University and married journalist Nicolas Kristof, who became her partner at The New York Times. She was the paper’s first Asian-American reporter. 

In 1989 WuDunn and Kristof travelled to China, where they covered the Tiananmen Square crackdown. WuDunn covered the protests from the heart of the conflict, facing gunfire and arriving at the hospitals before officials to count the dead. Those numbers turned out to be one of the most pivotal pieces of data throughout the crisis.

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