Christopher C. Harmon, Professor, Daniel K. Inouye Asia Pacific Center for Security Studies; and Paula Holmes-Eber, Affiliate Professor, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
Most contemporary research on terrorist movements ignores gender, in large part because of the biased assumption that terrorism is a primarily ‘male’ activity. However, over the past century in Latin America, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, revolutionary political movements have accepted and deployed women in numerous important roles: ranging from senior leadership to cadre, as intelligence agents, couriers, combatants and even suicide bombers.
Although religion, region and culture influence the types of roles women undertake in terrorist organizations, almost every known terrorist organization in recent history has included women. Even some Muslim extremist groups have given approval to the inclusion of female fighters. Today the Al Qaeda and ISIL magazines are openly courting female recruits.
Professors Harmon and Holmes-Eber will examine the reasons for incorporating females into underground fighting organizations, and the implications of such participation for redefining and challenging gender roles--both within terrorist organizations and for the larger social and political structures against which the organizations struggle.