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Women as Terrorists (From Clandestine Tactics and Technology - A Technical and Background Intelligence Data Service, Volume 2 - See NCJ-77150)

NCJ Number
J D Truby
Date Published
47 pages
Factors contributing to the rise in the number of women participating in terrorist activities are summarized, roles which women have performed with terrorist groups are briefly reviewed, and the activities of well-known female terrorists are outlined.
The formation and growth of the feminist movement have caused radical women to adopt the rhetoric and weapons used by male terrorists. Many professionals feel that women are inherently suited for the terrorist role as they are more savage than men. FBI statistics reflect women's growing participation in crime (up 52 percent nationally between 1968-73), and experts in international terrorism have noticed the increasing participation of determined women in terrorist movements. Female terrorists pose a threat to private organizations and governments, who hire them in low-level positions without security checks and they allow them traditional access to sensitive information afforded clerical personnel. Police officers might also be lured more easily into ambushes by pleas for assistance from female terrorists faking attack. Profiles of famous female terrorists include Tamara Bunke (or 'Tania'), who was associated with Che Guevara; Sylvia Rafael and Marianne Gladnikoff, both of whom worked for the Israeli Mossad; and an American 'freelance' woman terrorist. The celebrated Patricia Hearst case is also recounted to illustrate the benign feelings of the American public toward the female terrorist, and the ease with which female terrorists can accomplish their tasks (i.e., by taking on the appearance of a domestic housewife on her daily chores), is discussed. An appendix includes a discussion of the backgrounds, motives, and impacts of female terrorists in Asia, America, and Europe. Photographs of female terrorists are also included.


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