Jessica Trisko Darden

Female terrorists: On the front lines and behind the scenes

American Enterprise Institute


Between April 2013 and June 2018, women from 51 countries lived in ISIS-held territory in Syria and Iraq. According to estimates, at least 9,401 women and children joined the group. Yet most counterterrorism programs focus on men and ignore the real threats posed by women.

Why do women go to war? Despite the reality that female combatants exist the world over, we still know relatively little about who these women are, what motivates them to take up arms, how they are used by armed groups, and what happens to them when war ends.