Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.

Saved! Access Favorites in your account profile. Removed from my favorites

FARC & Government Reach A Peace Deal — Here's What Life Is Like For Female Fighters

  1. Begin
    Photo: Federico Rios.


    See All Slides
    Update: The Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) finally reached a peace deal after four years of negotiation.

    The historic agreement means that the 52-year-old conflict that killed over 220,000 and displaced more than 5 million is finally over, Reuters reported. FARC fighters will disarm and reintegrate to civilian life.

    A plebiscite vote regarding the deal will be held in October.

    The agreement is "the beginning of the end to the suffering, pain, and tragedy of war," said President Juan Manuel Santos, according to the BBC.

    Ahead, a look into the lives of FARC's female fighters.

    This article was originally published on June 24, 2016.

    It has been the single longest running civil war in the Western Hemisphere.

    For 52 years, the conflict between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian government has impacted the entire country, displacing about 5.7 million people and leaving over 220,000 people dead.

    But history was made on Thursday when a cease-fire agreement was signed in Havana, Cuba, after almost four years of negotiations between the armed group and the government. Women played a crucial role throughout the negotiation process, according to the U.N. Women's organization.

    "As we celebrate this new step and look forward to the journey ahead, let us not forget the sacrifice and effort of Colombian women, and the importance that their leadership and participation must have in the final stage of this peace process and the implementation of all agreements," Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of U.N. Women, said in a statement.

    Colombian photographer Federico Rios spent time documenting the life of the women in the FARC, who compose about 30% of the armed group’s forces. The FARC is the single largest leftist guerrilla group in the country.

    The most interesting thing to Rios was that gender seemed to play less of a role in how fighters spent their days.

    "I feel that in [the] FARC, they are seen and treated as equals. Men and women cook, wash clothes, and fight in the front line, just as equals," he said.

    Ahead, Rios shares his photos and the stories of these female fighters with Refinery29.

    Editor's note: Captions were provided by Rios and have been edited for clarity. Some of the fighters Rios interviewed use pseudonyms.

    Begin Slideshow
  2. Photo: Federico Rios.


  3. Photo: Federico Rios.


  4. Photo: Federico Rios.


  5. Photo: Federico Rios.


  6. Photo: Federico Rios.