This study examines the way that female terrorists fight for women’s rights, as well as the way their aspirations for women’s emancipation affect their agency, by analysing the cases of the female combatants in terrorist organizations in Sri Lanka and Turkey. Female militants challenge directly the traditional gender-based norms. By assuming roles contradictory to the gendered expectations, women soldiers become a symbol of women’s empowerment and they use this position to promote their feminist agenda. The women of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were able to demonstrate gender equality, change traditional gender hierarchies and take action to promote women’s liberation. The agency, the demands and the persistence of the women militants in the LTTE and the PKK influenced the groups’ increased attention to women’s rights.
Angeliki M. Siafaka is Master of Research in Global Security from the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom. She writes on issues related to extremism, terrorism, global security.
She also speaks Greek language.