In the Name of the Cause: Plural Pathways to Female Suicide Terrorism


Tanya Narozhna


Women and girls, whether voluntarily or against their will, participate in terrorist activities. Yet, the nature and scope of women’s involvement in suicide terrorism is poorly understood and only occasionally acknowledged. Entrenched gendered clichés are in large part to blame for it. Confounding the phenomenon is the sensationalism attached to female suicide terrorism as a symbol of social, cultural, and gender deviance. This paper will challenge the oversimplified individualist frame of explaining women involvement in suicide bombings through personal motives and demonstrate the interconnectedness of global structural conditions, regional, and societal factors in driving some women to commit acts of suicide bombing. More specifically, this project will look at the global power asymmetry; how it leads to poverty, marginalization, and social dislocation; and how these conditions are linked to the phenomenon of female suicide bombers.


Tanya Narozhna is an Assistant Professor of Global Politics at the University of Winnipeg, specializing in human security, terrorism, international organizations and global governance. She received a PhD in Political Science from the University of Alberta.

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