Counterterrorism Scholar Explains Essential Role of Women in Political Violence

Joana Cook, public program speaker, gestures on a blue auditorium stage in conversation with Cliff Chanin, whose back is to the camera.
Photo by Monika Graff

On Monday, Joana Cook spoke about her research, her experience of 9/11, and the role of women in modern counterterrorism efforts in a public program at the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Author of A Woman's Place: U.S. Counterterrorism Since 9/11, Cook considers not only how the roles of women in Al-Qaeda and ISIS have evolved, but also how these roles have impacted U.S. counterterrorism considerations.

In conversation with Cliff Chanin, executive vice president and deputy director for museum programs, Cook talked about women’s roles in supporting ISIS in the clip below:

“Women have played roles in political violence throughout history. In jihadist groups this has tended to be more limited, but ISIS was very unique in many ways. ISIS was beyond just a terrorist organization; it was an insurgency, it was a state-building project and I think that state-building component really impacted how and why women’s roles became as expansive as they did. When you’re building a state, you need women to become mothers, wives. You need women to interact with women in public settings such as healthcare, education, and policing. And all of a sudden you saw thousands of women from around the world being mobilized and attracted to this group for very, very diverse reasons.”

A video clip from the public program, "A Woman's Place: U.S. Counterterrorism Since 9/11"

2020_0210_Joana Cook_Highlight_(Caps)

You can view the full program and find out more about the winter/spring 2020 public programming season at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

By 9/11 Memorial Staff


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