terrorist plots


150 words agree or disagree

Men and women share differences and similarities alike in terms of roles and tactics utilized to carry out terrorist plots. Women’s roles in terrorist plots have changed throughout history, with the recent decades having experienced a surge in women’s participation. In history, women have often held a logistical role in terrorist operations. These days, however, women are increasingly used on the front lines in roles such as suicide bombings. The scope and goals of terrorist organizations containing women vary greatly from groups such as The Black Widows of Chechnya, The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia,  and modern-day ISIS operations. The two factors that remain the same, however, are women are often recruited online for these organizations, and the treatment of women in the criminal justice system has never quite matched the treatment of men when it comes to sentencing.

When it comes to prosecuting women for acts of terrorism, I do not believe that any differences should exist between how women are treated and how men are treated in the criminal justice system. Sentencing guidelines exist specifically to erase the possibility of gender-based, racial-based, or other forms of bias-based sentencing. Statistically speaking, women have received lesser punishments than men in the U.S criminal justice system due to their perceived “lesser role,” however, the disproportional treatment gives terrorist an advantage when recruiting. Less severe punishments for women will just lead to women being utilized as the tool of choice for these terrorist events, which it appears may be the current modus operandi, considering how much women’s participation in terrorist activities have increased over the past few decades. A 2015 study found that “women were 58 percent less likely to be sentenced to prison than men, and posits that judges were inclined to treat female defendants differently when they conformed to traditional gender roles,” (Treatment of Terrorists: How Does Gender Affect Justice? 2018).

I do not feel that counter-terrorism strategies should necessarily reflect a difference, however, I do think that counter-intel experts should be well informed of how women are used in terrorist plots, and should be privy to the possibility of whether a woman voluntarily took up arms, or was being used against her own will in terrorist plots. Both of these possibilities exist in today’s world, and the implications of either role will likely alter the eventual outcome in sentencing.

Thank you for reading my forum post, and for all the pleasant interaction throughout the past 8 weeks! I wish each and every one of you the best of luck in your future endeavors.


Jaime Le Francois


Treatment of Terrorists: How Does Gender Affect Justice? (2018, September 10). Retrieved from

Women in Terrorism: Exploring the motivations of Women Joining Terrorist Organizations [PDF]. (2014, Spring).

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