Non-State Armed Groups

Male and Female Suicide Bombers: Different Sexes, Different Reasons?


Jacques, Karen, and Paul J. Taylor. 2008. “Male and Female Suicide Bombers: Different Sexes, Different Reasons?” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 31 (4): 304–26. doi:10.1080/10576100801925695.

Authors: Karen Jacques, Paul J. Taylor


This article analyzes the motivations and recruitment of female suicide terrorists. Biographical accounts of 30 female and 30 male suicide terrorists were coded for method of recruitment, motivation for attack, and outcome of attack. A log-linear analysis found that female suicide terrorists were motivated more by Personal events, whereas males were motivated more by Religious/nationalistic factors. Females were equally likely as males to be recruited through peer influence, exploitation, or self promotion, whereas males were more likely to be recruited as a result of religious persuasion. The results highlight the need for continued research into female terrorism.

Topics: Gender, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Nationalism, Religion

Year: 2008

Explosive Baggage: Female Palestinian Suicide Bombers and the Rhetoric of Emotion


Patkin, Terri Toles. 2004. “Explosive Baggage: Female Palestinian Suicide Bombers and the Rhetoric of Emotion.” Women and Language 27 (2): 79–88.

Author: Terri Toles Patkin


This paper examines the rhetoric of emotion surrounding the first female Palestinian suicide bombers. The influence of gender in recruitment, training and compensation by the terrorist organization are considered within the context of the tension between gender equality and tradition in Palestinian culture. The carefully-edited discourse of the bombers themselves is juxtaposed with the discounting of those statements by friends, family and the media in an attempt to understand the motivations for engaging in terror. Media coverage, particularly in the West, appears to actively search for alternate explanations behind women's participation in terror in a way that does not seem paralleled in the coverage of male suicide bombers, whose official ideological statements appear to be taken at face value.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Palestine / Occupied Palestinian Territories

Year: 2004

Chechen Female Suicide Bombers: Who and Why


Dronzina, Tatyana, and Vadim V. Astashin. 2007. “Chechen Female Suicide Bombers: Who and Why.” Journal of Human Security 3 (1): 30–44. doi:10.3316/JHS0301030.

Authors: Tatyana Dronzina, Vadim V. Astashin


It is commonly accepted that Chechen women acting as suicide bombers are part of the rebel movement in the Caucasus. They kill themselves voluntarily or for revenge. What are the motivating factors for such suicide missions? What kind of connection exists between Islamic suicide terrorism in the Middle East and in Chechnya? Is the Chechen phenomenon unique? Who recruits Chechen women for suicide terrorist attacks? Does a typical portrait of these women exist? Data were drawn from open security service sources, newspapers, news agencies, interviews, and special investigations by Russian and foreign journalists. They provide answers based on the life-stories of most women who acted as suicide bombers, imbedded in a chronology of the major terrorist attack in the Russian Federation, and its consequences.

Topics: Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Violence Regions: Asia, Europe Countries: Russian Federation

Year: 2007

Why Do People Become Terrorists? A Prosecutor’s Experiences


Spataro, Armando. 2008. “Why Do People Become Terrorists? A Prosecutor’s Experiences.” Journal of International Criminal Justice 6 (3): 507–24. doi:10.1093/jicj/mqn033.

Author: Armando Spataro


Undeniably the marginalization suffered by many Islamic emigrants (particularly from North Africa) and the consequent difficulties in fitting in the land of adoption, constitute contributory causes — of a socio-economic nature — of their drift into terrorism. However, a distorted view of the principles of Islam and a violent and criminal interpretation of the obligation of Jihad constitute the main factor of their drive. Statements made in the course of interrogation by arrested terrorists (especially by supergrasses, referred to in Italy as ‘repenters’) as well as ideological documents disseminated internationally on the internet or items seized in the course of various judicial enquiries consistently show that the religious view of the world, obviously in the distorted perspective specific to terrorists, constitutes the main reason for their behaviour, whereas practically no importance attaches to the aspiration to liberate specific occupied territories or oppressed peoples. Another possible motivation, at least for suicidal acts, is linked with those of an economic nature: in connection with various judicial investigations it has emerged that sums of money collected as voluntary contributions from the ‘faithful’ serves not to finance the ‘terrorist act’ as such, but to guarantee a future for family members of a suicide attacker, or someone who died in the course of a terrorist action.

Topics: Economies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Religion, Terrorism

Year: 2008

Female Suicide Bombers: A Global Trend


Bloom, Mia. 2007. “Female Suicide Bombers: A Global Trend.” Daedalus 136 (1): 94–102.

Author: Mia Bloom

Topics: Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Non-State Armed Groups, Violence

Year: 2007

Women and Wars


Cohn, Carol, ed. 2012. Women and Wars. Malden, MA: Polity Press. 

Author: Carol Cohn


Where are the women? In traditional historical and scholarly accounts of the making and fighting of wars, women are often nowhere to be seen. With few exceptions, war stories are told as if men were the only ones who plan, fight, are injured by, and negotiate ends to wars. As the pages of this book tell, though, those accounts are far from complete. Women can be found at every turn in the gendered phenomena of war. Women have participated in the making, fighting, and concluding of wars throughout history, and their participation is only increasing at the turn of the 21st century. Women experience war in multiple ways: as soldiers, as fighters, as civilians, as caregivers, as sex workers, as sexual slaves, refugees and internally displaced persons, as anti-war activists, as community peace-builders, and more. This book at once provides a glimpse into where women are in war, and gives readers the tools to understand women's (told and untold) war experiences in the greater context of the gendered nature of global social and political life. (Polity Press)


Table of Contents:

Foreword by Cynthia Enloe

1. Women and Wars: Toward a Conceptual Framework
Carol Cohn

2. Women and the Political Economy of War
Angela Raven-Roberts

3. Sexual Violence and Women's Health in War
Pamela DeLargy

4. Women Forced to Flee: Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons
Wenona Giles

5. Women and Political Activism in the Face of War and Militarization
Carol Cohn and Ruth Jacobson

6. Women and State Military Forces
Jennifer G. Mathers

7. Women, Girls, and Non-State Armed Opposition Groups
Dyan Mazurana

8. Women and Peace Processes
Malathi de Alwis, Julie Mertus, and Tazreena Sajjad

9. Women, Girls, and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR)
Dyan Mazurana and Linda Eckerbom Cole

10. Women "After" Wars
Ruth Jacobson


Reviews of Women and Wars:

By Laura Shepherd:

By Christine Sylvester:

By Erika Cudworth:

By Katherine E. Brown:

By Jean Owen:

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, DDR, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Refugees, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gender, Women, Girls, Health, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarization, Non-State Armed Groups, Peace Processes, Political Economies, Political Participation, Post-Conflict

Year: 2012


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