Women, Gender and Terrorism: Gendered Aspects of Radicalization and Recruitment

written by On September 15, 2016

Women, Gender and Terrorism: Gendered Aspects of Radicalization and Recruitment

Jeannette Gaudry Haynie

The rise of groups like ISIS has galvanized the expansion of the global terrorism problem. While ISIS is hardly the first extremist organization to attract women and to use gendered tactics for recruitment, its formation and growth has paralleled the explosion of social media, bringing unprecedented attention to the problem. As scholars and policymakers attempt to develop coherent responses to the threats that groups like ISIS pose, three critical issues need to be addressed.

(1) What drives individuals to join extremist groups, and are these drivers different for men or women?

(2) What are common methods of recruitment, and do they differ by gender?

(3) Have states and international institutions integrated gender perspectives in their responses to radicalization and extremist violence? Do these approaches empower women to resist recruitment?

Without an integrated dialogue between the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) and counterterrorism communities, the answers to these questions will remain incomplete and policy responses may fall short.

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