The 9/11 attacks fundamentally transformed how the U.S. approached terrorism, and led to the unprecedented expansion of counterterrorism strategies, policies, and practices. While the analysis of these developments is rich and vast, there remains a significant void. The diverse actors contributing to counterterrorism increasingly consider, engage and impact women as agents, partners, and targets of their work. Yet, flawed assumptions and stereotypes remain prevalent, and it remains undocumented and unclear how and why counterterrorism efforts evolved as they did in relation to women.
Drawing on extensive primary source interviews and documents, A Woman’s Place traces the evolution of women’s place in U.S. counterterrorism efforts through the administrations of Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump, examining key agencies like the U.S. Department of Defense, the Department of State, and USAID. In their own words, Joana Cook investigates how and why women have developed the roles they have, and interrogates U.S. counterterrorism practices in key countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Yemen. Analysing conceptions of and responses to terrorists, she also examines how the evolving roles of women in Al-Qaeda and ISIS have impacted U.S. counterterrorism considerations.