What the media gets wrong about the brides of ISIS

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Media Outlet: The Week

Reports describe many motivations for female foreign fighters — highlighting factors that can be traced back to a woman's sexuality, domesticity or sanity rather than her political agency. The Islamic State appeals to women, some reports say, because it offers them a life of adventure, purpose, and access to devout, strong Muslim husbands. Women find the idea of raising a Muslim family in an Islamic state alluring, particularly surrounded by a strong sisterhood of like minded women, which they can see via their colorful social media accounts. But beyond these gendered factors, women may also join ISIS or al-Nusra because they are passionate ideologues, determined to fight for an organization that promises a return to a golden Islamic era where Muslim people thrived.

Authors:

Emily Schneider was a senior program associate for the International Security Program at New America.

Elizabeth Weingarten is the director of the Global Gender Parity Initiative, a project of the Better Life Lab where she is a senior fellow.