Author Biography

Amanda Spencer recently completed a Master's in Global Affairs at New York University, where she focused on Middle Eastern studies and Islamic extremism. Passionate about making a difference and contributing to the world of counterterrorism, her research explores the multifaceted roles of women in terrorism. Amanda is currently on the OFAC Sanctions team at Deutsche Bank Securities.



Subject Area Keywords

International relations, International security, Middle East, Security studies, Terrorism / counterterrorism


As it stands today, counterterrorism approaches aimed to dismantle the Islamic State primarily targets male militants. Astoundingly enough, women are leading contributors to ISIS’ strength and capabilities. Female operatives hold increasingly influential positions in the group’s construction of a proto-state. Women responsibilities include: suitability as a wife to ISIS soldiers; birthing the next generation of jihad; advancing ISIS’ global reach through online recruiting; maintaining order within ISIS’ network of women. All crucial roles in the advancement of the cause. This paper will explore the myriad of activities performed by ISIS’ network of women and analyze why women hold particular roles in the caliphate. A reliable comprehension of these factors can produce essential intelligence in the fight against ISIS.