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Nikkei Asia scores first win in region's top journalism prize

Publication notches 1-2 for reporting on women's issues in global category of SOPA awards

Nikkei Asia Editor-in-Chief Shin Nakayama, second from right, receives the 2023 global SOPA prize for women’s issues in Hong Kong on June 15. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

HONG KONG -- Nikkei Asia has scored its first-ever win in the top category of the region's premier media prize run by the Society of Publishers in Asia.

The publication took first and second place in the women's issues category at the SOPA awards ceremony in Hong Kong on Thursday night.

Nikkei Asia won for a series on women and wealth in the region, while a piece on abortion placed runner-up. The publication also took third place in the arts and culture, technology and magazine design categories.

The SOPA awards are widely considered Asia's premier media prize. The global section attracts the world's biggest English-language media organizations.

The judges praised the women and wealth series as an "immersive, in-depth, and original examination of the status of women's work and wealth in Asia." The project looked at the historic shift that has meant women in Asia now hold more collective wealth than in any other region except North America -- and the total is growing more rapidly than anywhere else.

The cover of the Nikkei Asia issue that carried a piece on women and wealth in Asia, left, and the magazine that ran the abortion story, right.

The winning entries from the project highlighted both the rising wealth of women in countries across Asia and the barriers that remain to achieving parity with men. One piece, reported by Cissy Zhou and Echo Wong, examined the reversal of gender progress in China. Another, by Sayan Chakraborty, Akito Tanaka, Tsubasa Suruga and Michelle Chan, looked at the problems female startup founders face in securing funding. A third article, by Lien Hoang, Kiran Sharma, Francesca Regalado and Cheng Ting-Fang, focused on women who are shattering stereotypes in some of the world's most conservative societies and pushing for needed further change.

The woman and wealth project used data analysis by Shreya Raman and was edited by Jui Chakravorty.

The piece on abortion in Asia, lead written by Ismi Damayanti, Kiran Sharma and Arisa Kamei, looked at how pregnancy termination remains a taboo topic in many societies, deeply intertwined with religion and traditional gender roles. The story, edited by Alice French, illuminated the challenges and dangers faced by women seeking abortion in the region, as well as the individuals working to protect women's rights and safety.

Shin Nakayama, Nikkei Asia's editor-in-chief, said the awards were a milestone for the publication and highlighted its strengths. "The women and wealth series was built on reporting across Nikkei Asia's diverse network of correspondents, skilfully edited and illustrated in Tokyo," he said.

The Financial Times receives the 2023 SOPA prize for Arts and Culture Reporting in Hong Kong on June 15. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

The Financial Times, which is also a Nikkei company, won in the arts and culture category for a piece on Japan's business succession crisis. It also notched second places for audio reporting, opinion writing and scoop of the year. It placed third in two other categories.

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