In contemporary African wars, women continue to play a variety of crucial roles, and yet they remain invisible to the world. Only a handful of researchers and journalists have appreciated the importance of women in these conflicts, and the way in which gender stereotypes continue to mask their involvement. Starting in February 2013, I met, followed, photographed and interviewed a selection of women fighting in the alphabet-soup of rebellions currently operating in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo—including the recently defeated M23. Their stories reveal not only the significance of their roles within the rebel groups of which they are a part, but also show the striking contrast between the danger of their liberation struggle and the almost mundane reality of daily life in an armed group in eastern DRC.
For more information on the project, visit www.francescatosarelli.com (or follow the photographer on Twitter or Facebook).