Jean Lopez: “In Ukraine we rarely see pictures of women with weapons” – zimo news


“Women in battle. Myth or reality? », under the direction of Jean Lopez, « De la guerre », no. 2, summer 2022, Perrin, 212 pages, 19 euros.

The author, among other things, Barbarossa. 1941. Absolute War (with Lasha Otkhmezuri, Composite Passes, 2019) and Kharkiv 1942 (Palin/Department of Armed Forces, 2022) Jean Lopez is also editorial director of the bimonthly magazine war and history and mook’s edit war, the second issue appears. Surrounded by some 20 experts, the journalist and historian wrote a document about women in battle and revisited military history through stories, interviews, archives, archives or portraits.

What place does women’s military service occupy in history?

This phenomenon appears to be limited. Knowing that the history of war was written by people, is this a reflection of reality or a reflection of incomplete sources? In 1914-1918, strong male mobilization led to the presence of women in factories and health services in large numbers, but they did not resist. In 1939-1945, the demand for combatants was so great that the field of women was further expanded into support functions (logistics, health care, administrative work), and in addition to the front lines, in addition to the USSR, it mobilized 1 million women (for 30 million male). Of these, 10% or 100,000 women were subsequently exposed to the fire. This exception is explained by egalitarian communist ideology and great losses, which magnify the arrival of women.

During decolonization, ideological and demographic factors again pushed women to some extent in all positions, except fighting. The Algerian Revolution employed female activists in intelligence and health. Also, in the 1970s and 1980s, the guerrillas leaned towards gender equality. The most interesting example in this regard is the Kurds.According to PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan [PKK], the national liberation he fought for cannot be disconnected from the liberation of women, especially since it took place in the land of Islam. It creates female battalions, commanded by Koba [Syrie], in 2014-2015, the battalions were against jihadists. They make up 25 to 30 percent of combat troops.

Are there female fighters in the Ukrainian war?

We rarely see images of women carrying weapons. Those shown are of Ukrainian ancestry and above all seem to reflect propaganda intent towards the West. So much so that I wonder if Kurdish fighters have not imposed a new mandatory iconic passage in their war performance. Still, the few numbers I have on the Russian side and the Ukrainian side lead me to think that these militaries follow the same curve of increasing feminization of the support function. Russia and Ukraine no longer have enough qualified personnel to perform all the functions required by modern militaries.

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