The United States is facing a "new threat" that has actually been an ongoing threat throughout the history of terrorism: the female (suicide) bomber. On Sunday, January 19, 2014, at least 14 people were killed and many more wounded by a female suicide bomber at a railway station in Russia. The suspect is a 22 year old woman named Ruzanna Ibragimova (AKA Salima). She is believed to be affiliated with the Caucasus Emirate, a terror group led by Doku Umarov, that has threatened attacks against the Winter Games in Russia.
Female Suicide bomber's motives are the same as male bombers; the purpose of terrorism is to cause fear and apprehension. But they become involved in terrorism and in suicide bombing for different reasons than males.
Females are not normally suspected of terrorism. Many countries are "a man's world;" women have little rights in many areas, in different religions. Violence, cross-culturally, is viewed as a "man thing." Therefor a female terrorist can become a symbol to women, can commit atrocious acts, elevating her own (and female) status, and "make something' of herself. Palestinian terrorist Laila Khaled became a hero to many of her people after a 1969 plane hijacking.
Females cannot be searched as a male suspect can be searched due to religious beliefs and/or social mores. An American woman who grew up in Kuwait explains how she would smuggle drugs into the U.S. in the 1970s: "We hid the (drugs) in tampon boxes, because the minute the (Kuwait) airport police saw them in the luggage, they would literally step away. They wouldn't touch tampon boxes or tampons." "Search" includes physical searches, where a woman may be able to bypass security much more easily as a man will not touch a female, particularly in the breast or genital areas.
Women join terrorist groups usually for revenge of the death of a male family member. If a woman's brother or husband was killed in the "cause," a woman will personally seek revenge by becoming involved in terrorism. Chechen women bombers were named "Black Widows" as many were acting in revenge for the deaths of their husbands, sons, and brothers. Chechen female terrorists have been involved in 22 out of 27 suicide attacks attributed to Chechen rebels, and 43% of 110 bombers were female, between 2000-2005. Ruzanna Ibragimova is the widow of a militant reportedly killed in a shoot-out with police last year in Dagestan.
A woman often has much more emotional investment than a man. Where a man will go fight in the name of a cause, because of idealism, or it is the "correct thing to do," or because his father and grandfather were "freedom fighters," a woman will join for reasons such as symbolism and/or revenge, which ingrains the cause much more deeply into her soul. Therefor she may be easier to recruit and train, and volunteer to become a suicide bomber. Ulrike Meinhof is considered one of history's most dangerous terrorist. Meinhof was a leftist activist from youth and eventually founded the RAF (Rote Armee Fraction) organization. She was responsible for suicide attacks across Germany. In the 1970's she led a series of bombings and attacks.
Females can hide items in their clothing easier. The bulk may appear to be a pregnant belly. Clothing such as burkas hide the bombs and equipment. Wafa el-Bass carried explosives in her undergarments when she attempted to blow up an Israeli hospital in 2005.
Female terrorists are also working in the United States. Consider the SLA, or "Symbionese Liberation Army," the American left-wing revolutionary group that, between 1973 and 1975, kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst, robbed banks, committed murders, and committed other acts of violence. Reports tell us the men of the group were more involved in the ideology and history, where as women were committed to creating change. When the majority of SLA members died in a fiery shootout with Los Angeles Police in May 1974, it was discovered the male leader (Donald DeFreeze) had committed suicide; the women (Angela Atwood, Camilla Hall, Nancy Perry, and Patricia Soltysik) died shooting. All were born and raised in the U.S.
Judith Yates lectures on "Female Terrorists" see more HERE
photo of Judith Yates credit