Understanding the role of digital media in female participation in terrorism: the case of Bangladesh

Notwithstanding the discernable participation of women in terrorist groups, empirical research on women in terrorism is very scant in Bangladesh. To fill this gap, our article examines women’s involvement in terrorism by analyzing the life stories of dozens of Bangladeshi women terrorists. We use a terrorist lifecycle approach to understand the role of digital media in female participation, particularly in terms of when in the lifecycle digital media becomes important, and in terms of how digital media interacts with other factors to shape women’s involvement in terrorist organizations. After analyzing female profiles and their socio-demographic traits, we provide an in-depth analysis of three female terrorist lifecycles. An analysis of the profiles of Bangladeshi terrorists who use digital media reveals that women were more likely to use digital media than men in the recruitment phase. The in-depth case studies of three female terrorist profiles find that multiple and different factors impact their terrorist life cycles. Social networks – families and friends – typically play a role in individuals’ decision to become involved and further engagement in terrorism. Specifically, digital media allows women to expand their social interactions beyond what is possible in person, thus allowing for virtual pathways into terrorism.

Tags: Bangladesh, digital media, women