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Women's Participation in Violent Political Organizations

  • JAKANA L. THOMAS (a1) and KANISHA D. BOND (a2)


While women have participated in a variety of militarized movements across time and space, the determinants of their participation have not been examined systematically. In this article, we seek to explain variation in women's involvement across different violent political organizations. Our research highlights the role that organizational attributes play in influencing women's presence in violent groups. We evaluate our hypotheses using an original dataset on women's participation in and characteristics of 166 violent political organizations across 19 African countries from 1950 to 2011. Our empirical results show strong support for our argument that organization-based opportunities for women's participation explain whether female members are present in a group.


Corresponding author

Jakana L. Thomas is Assistant Professor, Michigan State University, 368 Farm Lane, South Kedzie Hall, 314, East Lansing, MI 48824 (
Kanisha D. Bond is Assistant Professor, University of Maryland–College Park, 3140 Tydings Hall, College Park, MD 20742 (


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