Women in War is a documentary about five Finnish women who were members of the women´s voluntary auxiliary services during World War II. Their private, intense experiences build up to a vivid account of the contribution of the women´s organization to the war effort. The interviewed women worked in provisioning, air defence, communication and medical duties; one was underaged when she joined the organization to work in a military hospital. On the film the women talk about their duties, the general atmosphere and their own feelings during the war. This is perhaps the first time women are given a chance to tell their side of the story.

After the war, the women´s organization was banned on allegations of fascism. But the saddest blow was the belittling and demeaning of the entire women´s war effort. Beginning with Väinö Linna´s novel Unknown Soldier, fabricated notions of the women in voluntary service have already made their mark on the collective memory of the nation, and the images in the public mind of bravery and heroism in the war are exclusively masculine. No one has wanted to listen to the other, feminine side of the war: What it feels like to have fear not only the enemy but also brutality from your own men; what it means when all you see of the war is the grim sight of the bodies, from year to year.
Women in War is a tale about courage and fear, persistence, pain and sorrow. It is also a definitive counterargument against any contemptous attitudes toward the women´s war effort.

director & script: Taru Mäkelä
cinematographer: Jouko Seppälä
sound designer: Ulla Turunen

50 min, 35mm, 1.66, col/bw, Finnish dialogue