Gendered Justice: Female Perpetrators and Extremism



On October 15th at 11:00 AM EST, The Program on Extremism at George Washington University hosted an online event to discuss a new book by Izabela Steflja and Jessica Trisko Darden, Women as War Criminals: Gender, Agency, and Justice.

In their new book, Steflja and Trisko Darden analyze the legal cases of four women involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity. The authors argue that each woman's complex identity influenced her treatment by legal systems, and her ability to mount a gendered defense before the court. In addition to unsettling assumptions about women as agents of peace and reconciliation, the book highlights the gendered dynamics of law, and demonstrates that women are adept at using gender instrumentally to fight for better conditions and reduced sentences when war ends.

Following remarks from both authors, Program on Extremism Senior Research Fellow Devorah Margolin moderated a panel discussion. The authors discussed the implications of their book for our understanding of women's roles in extremist violence, as well as the legal challenges faced in holding women war criminals and extremists to account.