Female Violent Extremists: Pawns or Perpetrators?

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In recent years an increasing amount of women voluntarily opted to join violent extremist organizations. Governments oftentimes fail to respond to female violent extremism, resulting in the compromising of the international security. This worrisome threat has not yet been examined by academic scholars. In this thesis, the focus lies on Kenya, where Islamist extremist group Al-Shabab has turned its attention towards the recruitment of Kenyan women. The Kenyan government has not yet implemented policies to counter this phenomenon. With theoretical predictions derived from feminist theory and policy inaction theory, this thesis aims to explain the lack of attention of the Kenyan state towards female violent extremism. Government and civil society documents are analyzed with the use of qualitative content analysis as research method. Thereby it is examined whether the theoretical predictions are applicable to the research problem. The findings conclude, in accordance to the prediction emanated from feminist theory, that the Kenyan government has an implemented gender bias. Because of this gender bias Kenyan policymakers neglect the threat that female violent extremism poses. In addition, county governments who do have the will to implement gender-sensitive policies, oftentimes do not obtain the resources necessary for this commitment.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen