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Terrorism is any act of terror that occurs in form of violence or threats that are meant to loutish an individual, group or entity to act in a manner that any person or a group could not legally sanction them to act (Sharma, 2005). There is both men and women terrorism and is mostly related to Muslim religion. Suicide bombing is mostly associated with men but not women, but nowadays, women have increasingly joined these terrorism organizations.
Research, which has been carried out by various organizations on matters of terrorism, reveals some indications of the role that women might potentially play in terrorist organizations related to radical Islam. Women are mostly recruited in these organizations by their fellow men. Traditionally women are seen as victims of violence rather than perpetrators, but nowadays they are the key perpetrators of violence. The first terrorist organizations that used women were secular in nature. Women have been at the forefront and chief indigenous of terrorist organizations, for example, weather underground, Italy red brigade and many others.
The role of women in secular terrorist organizations has been more pronounced in history due to the conservative nature of religious terrorist movements, which often exclude women from their ranks. Women are more likely to join secular terrorist more than religious movements.
Gender stereotype tend to dominate the role of women in terrorism. The role of women in terrorism is indirect; they mostly engage in giving birth to revolutionary fighters, raising the children in a voluntary setting therefore facilitating their recruitment into organizations and honor them after their death.
Some terrorist groups use women as terrorist and in some cases as suicide bombers, for example in Turkey out of twenty-one suicide attacks fourteen are believed to be caused by women.
There are many reasons that have been put across in explaining why women join terrorism. The reasons that have been given are that some join to revenge their brothers or their lover’s death. Revenge is the main reason that makes women join terrorism. Others say that some women engage in terrorism activities due to rape or abuse from occupying soldiers. These women often desire for support from men terrorists, to defend their faith, and express their religious enthusiasm.
Terrorist organizations use women as terrorists because they provide:
- Tactical advantage
- Increased number of combatment
- Greater hype
- Psychological outcome
Women participation in suicide bombings opens up a whole range of questions from motivational aspect recruitment, but also on the penalty for the expansion of terrorism and the consequences of counter-terrorism.
One of the motivational factor that has led women to joining terrorism is to have a heroism image and be equal to men. They think that women are recognized more when doing the same act with their fellow men.
Enrollment of women in terrorism is prized as logical step in the increasingly improved security. The reason behind this is that women are taken as effective actors due to their purity and they may not be detected easily.
Unlike men, women are not valued as emblematic terrorists, the conventional value remains as mournful widows and parents.
Organizations dealing with terror cases are usually aware of the value of female members in their organization. They know that when they use women in their suicide mission they can play on established chauvinism and conjectures.
Unlike men, women do not voluntarily join terrorism; there are many reasons that make them join terrorism for example, the death of a brother or a husband. Make them become terrorists.
Some of them join so that they can establish good revenging grounds because of sexual abuse and as a source of social support from male terrorist.
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Women may also join terrorism indirectly through giving birth and bringing up children who are later recruited in the terrorist organizations.
Sharma D. (2005).The new terrorism: Islamist international. Virginia, APH.