The Case of Roshonara Choudhry: Implications for Theory on Online Radicalization, ISIS Women, and the Gendered Jihad

  • Gender and Online Radicalization
  • Elizabeth Pearson
  • Policy & Internet, September 2015, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1002/poi3.101

Online Radicalisation, women and the violent Jihad

What is it about?

This paper looks at women's online radicalisation to violent Jihadi movements, using the case of Roshonara Choudhry. Choudhry stabbed her MP Stephen Timms in 2010, the only female case of Al Qaeda inspired violence in the UK. She had spent hours watching Jihadi material on the internet. The article suggests that gender factors in important ways in her radicalisation, and in the way we need to think about how people radicalise, online and off.

Why is it important?

This article matters because it challenges ideas in which academics tend to think about women's radicalisation, and online radicalisation. It asks that, if we think identity matters in radicalisation, we consider how gender factors in identity formation. In particular it suggests that gender be considered in roles within violent movements, in ideologies, and in propaganda and messaging.


Ms Elizabeth G Pearson
King's College London

This is my first publication in my new academic life, after 17 years at the BBC. It is the result of an MA essay, amended of course, and made up to date with current ISIS-related events. There is huge academic, policy and media interest in women and how they radicalise. We need to think about the specific ways in which men radicalise too. I'm proud of this piece, because it took a lot of reading, time and thought. I hope other people will engage with some of the issues it raises, and that gender will become an essential element of how we try to understand violence.

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