Theses Master's

‘Deviant Women’: An Examination of the Fate of ISIS Women after the Caliphate and the Deradicalization Efforts Available to Them

Cervello, Alexia

The purpose of this thesis is to examine the relationship between Western prejudices toward women who have left the West to join ISIS's caliphate and the lack of deradicalization programs developed to address the same women who have since defected from ISIS following the caliphate's collapse in 2019. While the factors influencing women's decisions to join ISIS have been extensively researched and debated by experts and academics, there is a dearth of research on the fate of women who have left ISIS and their potential for reintegration into the West, as there is for men in comparable circumstances.

This thesis demonstrates the gap in this research and connects it to a clear lack of deradicalization programs tailored specifically to former ISIS women who were citizens of the West. Most importantly, although these women denounced their citizenship when joining ISIS, men are still able to access deradicalization programs even if they too have renounced their home nations. As a result, former ISIS women who are unable to reclaim their citizenship in the West face a slew of human rights violations, in refugee camps in Syria and Iraq where they are essentially left to die. This research demonstrates the critical importance of emphasizing that a person's 'right to citizenship' is inextricably linked to their ability to exercise their human rights and, thus, to be acknowledged as human.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Rajan, V.G. Julie
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
August 10, 2022