Hi this is @lena_mucha, I am a freelance photographer from Germany, currently based in Berlin. This week I am taking over the @theiwmf Instagram account, sharing some photos of my work about young female cadets in Armenia and Karabakh.
In my projects I focus on gender related and human rights topics. I believe it´s our duty as photojournalist to report on these stories that remain untold by many media. I have been working mainly in Latin America and recently went to the DRC thanks to the IWMF Great Lakes Reporting Fellowship. It was an amazing experience, and I feel deeply grateful with the IWMF to make this possible and give us the opportunity to document from regions where journalist hardly get access.
Thanks for following along this week!
This is Lena (15) during clases at the Military High School in Stepanakert, the capital of the self-proclaimed region Nagorny Karabakh. Lena is one of the first 10 female students who has been admitted at the military institution in September 2016.
Since the frozen war between Armenia and Azerbaijan erupted again in April 2016, more and more young girls and women are joining the army to defend their country. But in Armenia and Karabakh, societies that often confine them to traditional gender roles, its only the second year that they are allowed to join the military and become combatants.
The young women are a first in conservative Armenia, where their peers are expected to stay at home and rear children. But faced with a declining population, as Armenians leave their country to seek better economic opportunities abroad and parents opt to have fewer children, the government has decided to admit women into the army.
Despite objections against the girls active role in the military, these female cadets shrug off the criticisms. They are sure that one day they will serve on the frontline between Armenia and Azerbaijan just like their male peers.
#iwmf, #armenia, #karabakh, #photojournalism, #women, #conflict