Related photos
of 3
Reference : V-P-PE-E-01038
Date : 06/2017
Country/Region : PERU
Caption : Ayacucho. This 39-year-old woman works in a school cafeteria. Her family has been deeply affected by the internal conflict. Four of her brothers went missing and are presumed dead. She says that it is impossible for her grieving process to be completed while the bodies of her brothers are missing.
Photographer : HAMMOND, Robin
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : reserved users only
Copyright : Noor for the ICRC
Description : “I think because of everything we saw when we were six, seven years old, we weren't such gentle girls. We had to grow up quickly and be women at a young age. We had to have strong characters to survive those times. I think it was our emotions that changed the most, particularly our character. The men were being stamped out and had to remain hidden. So the women had to take on a family and even a community role”, she explains. “The women played an important role in social processes. I'd say they were the backbone of all the communities in which there was violence. At the same time, there was great resistance in the communities and in families. Women were invisible back then. They’d never thought they were important because they were women", she adds.

ICRC web site, article of 11.10.2018: Women and war. Men make war; women live with the consequences. At least that is the way it is largely perceived.

Women live and react to those consequences, but they are hardly passive victims. They grieve, they fight against the suffering, and many find they are forced to re-invent themselves, shedding an old identity and forging a new one shaped by war.
A new feature by National Geographic, supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross, takes a closer look at how women react to and deal with the disruption that conflict brings to family and work life.
In the project, A Woman's War, we break open the stereotype of "women as victim" and explore the multiple, complex, sometimes conflicting roles women play in conflict: fighters, humanitarians, mothers, daughters, laborers, community leaders and survivors.
"I believe that women are agents for change. I believe that women are major sources of stability in conflict-affected areas and that they hold together not only their families but their communities," said Mary Werntz, the deputy director of operations at the International Committee of the Red Cross. "My hope is that we all, humanitarians included, are able to look at women in their complete forms and not just as victims of something."
The lives documented are diverse. Photographer Robin Hammond visited a war he knows well – Iraq – as well as conflicts that seldom make global headlines, in the Philippines and southern Nigeria. Identities continue to be shaped by war even when the guns falls silent, so Hammond also travelled to Peru to see old scars that have not yet healed.
Working on gender is complex. It combines power and privilege, community rituals and expectations. Conflict tends to exacerbate existing inequalities. What happens when the family bread winner – often a male – goes off to war or is killed by the violence? Societal roles shift; women may be given an opportunity they previously didn't have.
"I think in many conflict situations women are forced into being the ones in charge of the family," Werntz said. "Women may have to take care of the agricultural areas. They may have to move into the work force. They have to look after the kids' education."
Resolution : 6192x8256
Orientation : portrait
Colour/B&W : colour