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Sex and Terror: Is the Subordination of Women Associated with the Use of Terror?


Terrorism and Political Violence
Journal abstract
The overwhelming percentage of the perpetrators of terrorism are male: is this noteworthy, or not? We believe that it is. More specifically, we believe there is a complex mix of sex-linked grievance for men, sex-linked training for men, and sex-linked lack of voice for women that facilitates, and may even catalyze, the perpetration of terrorism. Without knowledge of those sex-linked pathways, we argue that efforts to counter terror are less effective than they might be. We first survey the literature on the causes of terrorism, as well as the literature linking inequality between the sexes to incidence of terrorism. After laying this foundation, we next contribute a theoretical framework linking the subordination of women to the incentivizing of specifically male engagement in terrorism, and then test that framework through aggregate statistical testing on a sample of 155 nations for a variety of non-state and state terrorism outcome variables. The subordination of women, as also mechanisms of marriage market obstruction including brideprice, prove highly significant and with notable effect sizes even after controlling for several alternative explanatory variables. Finally, we probe implications of our findings for efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism.

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