An invaluable role in the history of the Armenian people was played by many women warriors whose deeds make Armenians all around the world proud. Throughout centuries, many Armenians had to defend the Fatherland with arms in their hands, heroically fight for it, and defend the honor of their people.
Below are the names and brief biographies of some of the most remarkable women in Armenian history.
Sose Mayrig (Vardanyan) was a participant of the Armenian national liberation movement and the wife of fedayi Aghbyur Serob. Together with her husband, Sose has fought against the Turks and Kurds. In 1898, after the Battle of Babshensk, Serob and Sose took refuge in Sasun. A year later, Sose participated in a battle against the Turks. Serob’s son and brothers perished in battle, while Sose herself who showed courage in battle and would be nicknamed Mayrik (Armenian: mother) for it was wounded, taken captive, and sent to Bitlis.
After the Sasun self-defense of 1904, Sose moved to Van and from there to the Caucasus. Sose’s other son had died during the massacre of Karin (Erzurum). After 1920, Sose Mayrig lived for some time in Constantinople and then in Alexandria (Egypt) where she would stay until her death.
Varsenik and her female detachment
1918 became crucial for the Armenian people. As a result of the Turkish intervention, the Transcaucasian Sejm collapsed, leaving Armenia alone against superior enemy forces. A few military detachments supported by ordinary people, including women, and the Armenian Church rose to fight against the invaders. The female detachment of Varsenik consisting of 128 people selflessly fought in the battle of Sardarapat as part of the regiment of Poghos Bek-Pirumyan.
Maya Peglevanova (Pakhlevanyan) was one of the first to join the underground Komsomol organization Young Guard. On May 11, 1943, Maya was arrested. After being severely tortured, she was thrown into the pit of mine number 5.
Lena Mayrik from Getashen for a whole year served as a mother to the guys who fought in the detachment of Tatul Krpeyan during the years of the Karabakh war. At the end of Operation Ring, she burned her house so as not to allow enemy soldiers into it. After the expulsion of the Armenians from Getashen, Lena Mayrik settled in the village of Khachpar, Ararat Province. She passed in 2006.
In the Yerablur military pantheon in Yerevan rest seven of many Armenian women who shoulder to shoulder with men have defended their native land’s right to live peacefully during the years of the Karabakh war. Naira Sahakyan was one of the women who have heroically fought in battles in Askeran, Lachin, and Kusapat.
In 1993, Sahakyan as part of the “Artsiv-5” battalion also participated in the battles in the area of the Sarsang reservoir and then in the liberation of Shushi.
For her quick reaction, dexterity, and acumen, her brothers and sisters in arms called her “White Fox” and “Shusha Fox”. Sahakyan was also awarded the Artsakh Medal for her merits.
Sahakyan died at the age of 23 in February 1993 from a sniper bullet when trying to help a wounded comrade.