Women, leadership and violent extremism: A potential security risk?
Aurélie Wertza & Dorcas Mbuvi
This paper examines an important and overlooked subject area. Women's
role in extremist organisations is neglected in general, and the
question of their tactical leadership in these settings is poorly
understood. Without specific focus on particular extremist movements or
ideologies and, to advance understanding and spur critical discussions
around female leadership in violent extremism, we propose three
conceptual models. The first details key drivers that plausibly
facilitate the emergence of female extremist leaders. The second
discusses six possible female leadership styles and the third touches on
female spheres of influence in violent extremism. The paper provides
preliminary explorative insights on a neglected topic while offering
opportunities for further research.
Keywords: women, gender, violent extremism, leadership styles, counter-terrorism, security threats
JEL Classification: D02, D74, F52, H12, J16, Z18