Women, Gender, and Terrorism

Edited by Laura Sjoberg and Caron E. Gentry

How women participants in terrorism are received and portrayed in gendered ways


"An important book featuring the leading experts in the field, Women, Gender, and Terrorism goes beyond the rhetoric, stereotypes, and news headlines to provide the most comprehensive account of female militants available. With diverse case studies, unique first-person interviews, and thoughtful feminist analysis, the authors of this volume offer a wealth of information on the motivations, strategies, and impacts of female militants. This work disrupts several age-old stereotypes associated with ‘what women do’ during war and social movements including the idea of the inherently peaceful and nurturing woman, and the assumption of females as perpetual victims of male violence. Women, Gender, and Terrorism is undeniably groundbreaking, making an invaluable contribution to the literature on war, militarism, and terrorism."
—Megan MacKenzie, Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney and Women and Public Policy Program, Harvard University

"Laura Sjoberg, Caron Gentry and their deeply informed contributors dismantle the exoticized stereotype of the woman terrorist by revealing the complex dynamics between women, ideas about femininity, insurgencies and violence. This provocative collection will be of genuine value to anyone trying to be smart about gender, conflict, media and political mobilization."
—Cynthia Enloe, author of Nimo's War, Emma's War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War

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In the last decade the world has witnessed a rise in women’s participation in terrorism. Women, Gender, and Terrorism explores women’s relationship with terrorism, with a keen eye on the political, gender, racial, and cultural dynamics of the contemporary world.

Throughout most of the twentieth century, it was rare to hear about women terrorists. In the new millennium, however, women have increas­ingly taken active roles in carrying out suicide bombings, hijacking air­planes, and taking hostages in such places as Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, and Chechnya. These women terrorists have been the subject of a substantial amount of media and scholarly attention, but the analysis of women, gender, and terrorism has been sparse and riddled with stereotypical thinking about women’s capabilities and motivations.

In the first section of this volume, contributors offer an overview of women’s participation in and relationships with contemporary terrorism, and a historical chapter traces their involvement in the politics and conflicts of Islamic societies. The next section includes empirical and theoretical analysis of terrorist movements in Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine, and Sri Lanka. The third section turns to women’s involvement in al Qaeda and includes critical interrogations of the gendered media and the scholarly presentations of those women. The conclusion offers ways to further explore the subject of gender and terrorism based on the contributions made to the volume.

Contributors to Women, Gender, and Terrorism expand our understanding of terrorism, one of the most troubling and complicated facets of the modern world.

Studies in Security and International Affairs

Page count: 224 pp.
1 table
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $69.95

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Laura Sjoberg is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Florida. She is the editor or author of numerous books including Gender, Justice, and the Wars in Iraq: A Feminist Reformulation of Just War Theory. Caron E. Gentry is a lecturer in the School of International Relations at the University of St. Andrews. Together they coauthored Mothers, Monsters, Whores: Women’s Violence in Global Politics.