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Descripción de editorial
This report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. Many assume any woman who serves as a terrorist combatant or suicide bomber does so at the behest of a male-dominated hierarchy and not of her own volition. However, this overarching notion appears contradictory given the historical participation of women within liberation movements, uprisings, and terrorism. Faced with what seems to be a growing trend within violent extremist organizations, states, militaries, policymakers, and academics are confronted with a vital question: Are women purely serving as baby factories for future terrorists, as sex slaves, as logistical support, and as sacrificial lambs; or, do they have a more active, combatant role? In examining the evolving roles of women within Islamist extremist organizations, this thesis concludes that women are not merely innocent bystanders coopted and coerced by male-dominated patriarchal Islamist organizations. Women are increasingly seeking more combatant and more public roles in these organizations and, in so doing, constitute a legitimate threat that must be engaged. Through a review of the prevailing literature concerning women's participation in violence and analysis of the Islamic Resistance Movement, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State, this thesis highlights the crucial and evolving roles that women play within violent Islamist organizations. The author concludes that the more nationalistic an organization becomes, the greater the role women tend to have within it. As such, should organizations such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State establish a nationalist objective, vice their current global jihadist agenda, female participation within these organizations may further evolve beyond purely militant roles and into the realm of politics and leadership. By highlighting the fact that men do not possess a monopoly on violence, the author informs policymakers and planners of the risks involved in discounting the agency of female participants within these organizations.
Women have consistently participated within a myriad array of political, militant, and extremist activities, despite the primarily male, patriarchal structure of society that has dominated throughout modern history. Such participation spans the gamut from peaceful demonstrations and boycotts to front-line combat and suicide bombings. Furthermore, contrary to the universally espoused pre-conceived notions of a woman's inherent nature as weak, nurturing, and passive, women, like their male counterparts, frequently participate in violent acts. Their participation in violence can be in response to oppression, violence, humiliation, and occupation, as well as a means of citizenship within their societies and established states. According to Kaufman and Williams, when women serve as combatants, they challenge gender-based assumptions and expectations.2 As evidence, the majority of media outlets continue to portray such women as exceptions and describe them in terms of their physical features and familial/social relations, and most within society continue to be surprised when confronted with images of female combatants.
Faced with what seems to be a growing trend within violent extremist organizations (VEO), states, security services, intelligence specialists, militaries, policymakers, and academics are confronted with an extremely important question: Are women purely serving as baby factories for future terrorists, as sex slaves, as cooks and logistical support, and as sacrificial lambs; or, do they have a more active, combatant role in Islamist extremist organizations (IEO)? If females do have a larger role, is it one they are forced into or one of their choosing? If the role of women has evolved within these organizations, what factors have contributed to these more active/prominent/combatant roles? How will our armed forces engage potential female terrorists?