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A Woman's War
Elizabeth D. Herman
A Woman's War documents the lives of women engaged in recent conflicts worldwide, as well as their struggle for justice, rights, and identity as female fighters.
Women have played key roles in recent conflicts, serving as combatants, nurses, organizers, spies, and more. War's end, however, is not the end of their struggle, with many left with the dual burden of confronting battle scars while reconstructing their families' lives. Perhaps most egregiously, many have found their conflict experiences to be a source of shame, rather than honor.
Over the past three years, I have documented the stories of 116 women in five countries: female revolutionaries of Egypt's recent political uprising, women on all sides of the 1992-1995 Bosnian War, female members of the North Vietnamese Army, Protestant and Catholic women of the decades-long Troubles in Northern Ireland, and female freedom fighters of the 1971 Liberation War in Bangladesh.
Though the locations and conflicts vary greatly, this work reveals concerns common across time and place. In coupling the portraits and testimonies of these female fighters, A Woman's War presents a new narrative on modern conflict, told through the words of women actively engaged in it. Each woman has a powerful story of trauma and survival, of hatred and belonging, of forgiveness and peace. Theirs are histories their families, communities that many of, and nations have yet to confront, yet whose documentation and acknowledgement is vital if these countries – and the women who gave them so much – are to find justice and peace.
Elizabeth D. Herman is a freelance photographer and researcher based in New York. She spent 2011 in Bangladesh as a Fulbright Fellow, researching how politics influence the writing of national histories. Her work on A Woman’s War has been recognized as a 2011 Finalist of The Aftermath Project, a 2011 Finalist of the Livingston Awards, shortlisted for the 2011 Lucie Foundation Scholarship, and granted the 2012 PNDP Tim Hetherington Award. Since returning to the U.S., Elizabeth has been freelancing for various national and international news outlets, and is currently the International Picture Intern at TIME Magazine. She graduated from Tufts University in 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and Economics and serves on the Student Advisory Board of Tufts’ Program for Narrative & Documentary Practice. Her research and photography have been featured in The New York Times, TIME, The Guardian, GlobalPost, NPR, and The Nation, among others. She was recently named one of the Jezebel 25 by Gawker Media.
A Woman's War
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