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They Give Peace a Chance: How Gender Equality Can Reduce Terrorism Open Access

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Gender inequality is increasingly included in policy discussions as a possible permissive cause of terrorism, and a growing number of counterterrorism programs target gender inequality as an enabling factor or focus on improving gender equality as a way to combat terrorism. However, the academic literature is largely silent on whether such a relationship exists. I argue that gender equality, particularly political equality, reduces domestic terrorism, but it does so indirectly and only under certain conditions. Through a multi-method analysis, I test for the existence and nature of a relationship between gender equality and terrorism. The results of a time-series cross-section statistical analysis show that as political equality for women increases, domestic terrorism rates decline. Additionally, political gender equality reduces domestic terrorism more in more stable, democratic, and non-Muslim states. Case studies on Northern Ireland, the Philippines, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia provide support and context for this limited and conditional theory of gender equality and terrorism.

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