Women in Jihad: A Historical Perspective

Seran de Leede 19 Sep 2018

By exploring the different roles women have historically played in jihadist movements, this policy brief aims to broaden the understanding of women’s positions in, and their relevance for contemporary jihadism. Women have maintained and propagated jihadist ideology, supported their jihadist husbands, raised their children according to jihadist ideology, recruited others, helped create alliances through strategic marriages, raised funds and transported messages, weapons and goods. On a smaller scale, women have taken on operational roles in the planning and execution of attacks, including as suicide bombers. As the principal focus in understanding (global) jihadism is often on perpetrators and leaders – positions in which women are underrepresented in jihadist movements – women’s facilitative and supportive contributions are often poorly understood and assessed. This policy brief demonstrates that women’s roles have been complementary to men’s and argues that women form an integral part of contemporary jihadism that cannot be seen as separate from or secondary to men’s contributions to jihad.

Read the Policy Brief.

How to cite: de Leede, Seran. “Women in Jihad: A Historical Perspective.” The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague 9 (2018)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.19165/2018.2.06