The Intersections of Members within Foreign Terrorism Organizations and Gender found While Coding

This continues our series of student reflections and analysis authored by our research team.

The Intersections of Members within Foreign Terrorism Organizations and Gender found While Coding

Meekael Hailu

When coding for the Prosecution Project, I have been exposed to a wide variety of various Foreign Terrorist Organizations that are attached to different cases. While coding said cases throughout my beginning with the project this semester, I have had to perform research on multiple various Foreign Terrorist Organizations to make sure that my insufficient background on the organization was met with knowledge so that I coded effectively. When coding these various prominent Foreign Terrorist Organizations, I always tend to notice the gender of the individuals when I am coding.

In my experience working as a coder of this project so far I have only seen men associated with some of the prominent organizations I have coded so far. After consciously realizing this, I wondered to myself, “why is this?”. After reading an eye-opening article on the relationship of gender and justice titled “Treatment of Terrorists: How Does Gender Affect Justice” written by Audrey Alexander and Rebecca Turkington sheds some light on the disparity and statistics of various both on a domestic front within the United States, as well as globally. They emphasize the fact that there are a strong theme and belief within the United States judicial system as well as different judicial systems all over the world that deal with foreign terrorists that women that are involved in these organizations are often “duped” or “fooled” into joining. This fascinated me because you rarely find this being an explanation for most men that choose to join a Foreign Terrorist Organization. They also state in the article that when studies are conducted, many reasons for both men and women joining these organizations stem from the same motivation and ideologies. (Alexander, 2018).

I could not definitively explain the statistical reasoning behind why I have not coded any women that have joined the multiple prominent Foreign Terrorist Organizations, but after reading the extremely well put together article written by Audrey Alexander and Rebecca Turkington, I can see the gender prejudice making its way into yet another field. As I continue to code more cases as a member of the Prosecution Project, I hope to get more of a diversified portfolio of individuals who join Foreign Terrorist Organizations. One aspect of this is coding more cases with females, to learn more through the source files that I will be searching through about these women and to see probably how similar their ideologies and motivations are to the men that choose to join the same organizations, even though individuals still choose to think differently just as Alexander and Turkington stated.

Additionally, I desire to continue to gain a more diversified portfolio on the various organizations themselves. I enjoy being able to recognize an organization’s name on BBC World News or hear it on the National Public Radio station and connect it back to a case that I coded for the project, it makes the contextual knowledge seem even more useful to know and understand as an educated scholar.

Overall, I truly do think that every single variable that goes into coding a case is important even when you might think it is not, especially gender. After analyzing the excellent paper Treatment of Terrorists: How Does Gender Affect Justice, I am looking forward to discovering more cases that help me understand the reasoning behind individuals’ decisions to join these Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Additionally, for the remainder of my time with the project, I want to make sure I take more of a deeper look while coding demographic information to understand on a deeper and more holistic basis all of the factors that play a role in what makes up the individual. I believe that doing this will consequently help you perpetually find more cases to code, and help you code them at a higher quality.


Alexander, A., & Turkington, R. (2018). Treatment of Terrorists: How Does Gender Affect Justice?. CTC Sentinel, 11.

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