The Warriors

Revolutionary women fighting for their rights, their communities, and their lives

From Moscow to Mogadishu to Managua, join us as we tell the stories of women fighting to change the world around them.

For too long, men have dominated the news, and dictated who reports it. Starting in 2018, we find ourselves at a critical moment for women globally. From women's marches to #TimesUp, to individual acts of feminism and bravery from women around the world, women's advancement is a major news story.

Today, we are thrilled to launch a year-long editorial project, The Warriors. Throughout 2018, ELLE will partner with the Fuller Project for International Reporting, a journalism team that reports on the world through a woman's lens.

From Mogadishu to Moscow to Managua, our reporting on terrorism, economics, health, security and politics looks specifically at the role of women, honing in on those fighting to change laws and attitudes that have traditionally oppressed women.

These are the stories you've been missing. Stay tuned!


Christina Asquith - Founder & editor-in-chief, the Fuller Project

Natasha Bird - Digital Editor,

Sophia Jones - International editor & journalist, the Fuller Project

Louise Donovan - Deputy Digital Editor,

Over the course of seven months, journalists Corinne Redfern and Allison Joyce followed the lives of sex workers in Bangladesh as part of an exclusive investigation into internal trafficking across the country.

It's estimated that there are over 20 'brothel villages' dotted across Bangladesh, with up to 10,000 employees split between them. There's one rule, but it's consistent: every sex worker must be in possession of a police-issued certificate declaring she's there willingly, and that she's over 18. How she gets it - how she gets to the brothel in the first place - is a question few seem to want to ask.

This is Moyna's story...

Local NGOs, including Rights Jessore, the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers' Association and BASHA Enterprises, understand the difficulty in getting women out of brothels. They're working tirelessly to provide sex workers with alternative vocational training, currently accommodating over 100 women in secret shelters across the country. But after years of abuse, thousands more sex workers are too deeply traumatised to leave: the stigma of what they've experienced is too strong.

Delve further into this underground world here:

New legislation in Russia means that men can avoid criminal prosecution for domestic violence. Russia already had a serious domestic violence problem: at least 12,000 women are thought to be killed each year at the hands of their abusers, mostly male partners, according to Human Rights Watch. That is roughly one woman every forty minutes. And those are just official numbers; much abuse goes unreported. As if that weren't bad enough, women are often sent back to their abusers when they go to the police. And those are the women who have mustered the courage to seek help.

Journalist Amie Ferris-Rotman and photojournalist Joel Van Houdt travelled to Russia to learn from Armenian-Russian lawyer Mari Davtyan, who defends female victims of abuse across the country and has formed a cohort of women who have designed a far-reaching, clear-cut law they hope will convince the Russian government to reverse the changes.

They also spent time with Maria and her son Andrei, themselves victims of domestic abuse, currently holed up in one of Russia's secret survivor shelters.

While we shine a light on the broad spread of domestic abuse cases in Russia at large, we also delve into one particular story of a woman determined to change the shape of Russia's future.

Alena Popova leads a cohort of women driven to dangerous and persistent protest of the recent domestic violence laws. For the 35-year-old trainee lawyer, trolling the patriarchy is currently a full time job.

Read about Alena's story here:

'The Warriors' is funded by the European Journalism Centre

via its Innovation in Development Reporting Grant Programme.

Designer of The Warriors hub page: Katja Cho

Video Editor: Aaron Halevy

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