Terrorist organizations have always been predominantly dominated by male members in numbers of participants, supporters, and leaders. Despite men having the majority of the roles, oftentimes the world witnesses attack executed by female terrorists which deal a substantial amount of damage to the infrastructure and the peaceful civilians surrounding them. Furthermore, the sense of unpredictability and unpreparedness from the counterterrorist forces and the general public adds up to the overall advantage women possess in the field of terrorism over men. Considering these observations, one can argue that women have grown to be far more dangerous and successful in the field of terrorism than men, who still hold the absolute majority in terrorist organizations. This thesis will investigate the phenomenon of women as nontraditional terrorists through answering the question of who deals more damage per terrorist attacks between males and females by looking at four major distinct terrorist organizations and their individual cases of attacks reported in the Global Terrorism Database. The unit of measurement for this study will be the average of death and wounded tolls, while the variables investigated will be individual male/female attacks and mixed-group/male group/female group attack to evaluate the impact of female member’s presence in group-attack settings. The goal of this thesis is to raise awareness on female lethality in terrorist organizations to the counterterrorist forces and the general public which is extremely important for domestic and foreign policy/security measures.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Reynolds, Ted


Chesnut, Jason


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences


School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs

Degree Program

International and Global Studies; Terrorism Studies



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date