Last night Tara Brown filed her report from Syria and Iraq where she spent time with Kurdish women on the frontline. They are fighting Islamic State (IS), protecting villages and themselves. They’re not alone but in combat alongside men.
Women fighting wars is nothing new. Vietnamese women fought on the frontline of the Vietnam War and Russian women were instrumental in World War 2.
The story of Kurdish women on the frontline in Syria was reported on the BBC almost a month ago. By that time they had already been fighting IS for two years. The piece gave context to the fight and the role of women as equal, if not more, value to their male counterparts.
Brown also gave context of the war and while she also portrayed these women as equal to their male counterparts, she destroyed all of that with one question. Shouldn’t these women be thinking about make up and boyfriends? she asks one Kurdish freedom fighter.
If watching Brown flinch repeatedly as she stood by an open window during cross fire was not enough to show she was a long way from home, that question certainly did.
The rape and torture of women and children as a frontline attack has been used repeatedly in times of war. Is it any real surprise to see women pick up arms to defend themselves and their way of life?
Australian women fighting on the frontline of war is still a new concept for us. However for some women living in conflict zones, it’s a part of life.
This is not ‘breaking news,’ it’s history repeating itself.