Challenging the images of women in war

One of the projects financed by the FBA in 2015 was the exhibition “Les Femmes”, portraying women living in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). “Women are not just victims, they are key agents of change,” says Anna Lithander from the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation.

The FBA has administered the Peace Million since 2005, a Swedish government grant that finances projects that focus on peace, security policy, disarmament, and conflict resolution. The Peace Million aims to contribute to a pluralistic and viable civil society in Sweden (only Swedish NGOs are entitled to apply for the grant).

One of the organizations granted funding in 2015 was the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, which works to support women in conflict-affected regions. Their exhibition “Les Femmes” portrays women's everyday lives and struggles for change in the eastern parts of the DRC. The exhibition consists of thirty photographs, both in colour and black and white, by the photographer Cato Lein.

An exhibition tour began in June, when “Les Femmes” was shown at the Almedalen Week in Visby. Since then, the exhibition has been shown in Borås, Göteborg, Nyköping and Uppsala. Anna Lithander is editorial manager at the Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation and responsible for the exhibition.

Why did you develop this exhibition?

– The media image of women in war are often dismal. Women are portrayed as anonymous victims of the horrors of war, without name or voice. With Les Femmes we want to challenge the stereotypical image of women in war. We know that women suffer from violence, oppression and discrimination, but they are also key actors for change – for peace, justice and democracy.

What difference can it make?

– Les Femmes portrays women living in the war-weary east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The exhibition shows the challenges women are facing and the thoughts, dreams and ideas they have for a better future. The situation is not hopeless, and a new society is possible. We hope Les Femmes will contribute to increased support for women's rights in DRC and the great and vulnerable work carried out by women's rights defenders.

What has the exhibition resulted in?

– Les Femmes have been seen by many during a tour in Sweden last year. It has raised awareness of the conflicts in DRC, which are rarely displayed in media, and it shows that even where vulnerability is widespread, change is possible.

Photo: Cato Lein. Irene Mbinge Sango and Rachel Mugula are two friends in Uvira, DR Congo, who are committed to women's rights. “Women are discriminated against everywhere in society, and are seen as objects. The concept of equality is not respected at all”. 

MORE FROM HOME

Somalia to be rebuilt after 20 years of war

Somalia is one of the world’s most conflict-affected states. For over 20 years, the country has been without a functional central government. But international efforts to unite and reconstruct Somalia are underway. Sweden is now set to double its foreign aid to Somalia, and FBA is commissioned to contribute to Sweden’s development cooperation with the East African nation.

2018-07-02 16:25

Read our publications

Image description

Una perspectiva de género en la construcción de la paz

This training manual has been developed to provide an introduction in Spanish to the policy framework on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) and its follow-up resolutions on women, peace and security.

Documents
Attributes
Author:
Gabriela Elroy
Year:
2018

IN THE FIELD

THE FBA BLOG

  • Posted by Carl Fredrik Birkoff

    Cross-border cooperation between Ethiopia and Kenya for conflict prevention and peacebuilding

    Within the framework of the strategy for Sweden’s regional development cooperation with sub-Saharan Africa 2016-2021 FBA is expected to contribute to increased regional integration and strengthened capacity to address cross-border challenges and opportunities at regional levels. This assignment is very much in line with the innovative, comprehensive and integrated cross-border programme between Ethiopia and Kenya initiated by the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments, in partnership with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the United Nations.

    During the ... Read entire post »

    2018-08-16 15:20
  • Posted by Ben Rhee

    Action for Peacekeeping: What role for the Challenges Forum?

    On March 28 this year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the UN’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) agenda. At the heart of the initiative lies an urgent call to mobilise support for peace operations, which are increasingly faced with a wide-array of complex challenges.

    Operating in some of the most difficult environments and intractable conflicts on the planet, UN and multilateral peace operations today are dealing with a host of issues and unrealistic expectations by the international community ... Read entire post »

    2018-07-11 10:11
  • Posted by Andreas Berg

    When keeping the peace means keeping your distance

    Summertime in Tbilisi has arrived, carried in on the back of dramatic thunderstorms sweeping in from the Black Sea, pouring down enough rain to transform the steep streets of the old town into short-lived rivers, and leaving daily temperatures slightly higher after every visit. Soon even such weather-driven drama will dissipate however, settling into a steady 35 degree heat during July and August, predictable enough to allow for the planning of cooling hikes in the Caucasus ... Read entire post »

    2018-06-27 14:10
Photo

Stefan Åström

Stefan Åström is expert on Latin America and disarmament of ex-combatants

More about our experts

Upcoming courses

Twitter