Why do women and children join insurgency groups? The subject has been a matter of extensive debate, with experts offering theories of motivation on well-known groups such as the National Liberation Front (FLN) or the Irish Republican Army (IRA). However, there has been a small amount of work comparing two insurgency groups and their participants to one another. This paper addresses the underlying reasons for why women and children join insurgencies, explicitly focusing on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkey from their origins to the present. The paper uses interviews from other scholarly works on the two groups and their participants. In doing this, the paper showcases that despite differences across geographic location and each group's motivation, there are similar indicators that motivate women and children to join insurgency groups. This paper finds that women and children are primarily motivated to join the FARC because of harsh gender inequality and economic poverty. Regarding women and children joining the PKK, their motivations primarily concern ethnic discrimination and gender inequality. The implications of this research will provide information about dynamics leading large numbers of women and children to join violent organizations. Furthermore, it will find that despite regional differences and group’s overall goals, there are universal motivating factors, like gender inequality, which influence women and children to participate in political violence.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Tezcür, Güneş Murat


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Sciences


Political Science

Degree Program

International and Global Studies


Orlando (Main) Campus



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date