Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Peter Liberman

Subject Categories

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Inequality and Stratification | Latin American Studies | Other International and Area Studies | Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies


Colombia, civil conflict, FARC Guerrilleras, Chechnya, nationalism, Black Widows, non-state actors, gender inequality


This paper will explore the similar and different characteristics between Colombian female combatants who are members of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolutionarias de Colombia (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), and the Chechen female suicide bombers who joined the Chechen insurgency movement. It shall provide a brief historical background of how the FARC, a leftist guerrilla group, and the Chechen insurgency movement ascended into prominence during civil conflicts in Colombia and Chechnya respectively. It will discuss how many women in both countries would pursue a different form of activism and defy patriarchal norms by engaging in acts of violence in the name of their insurgent groups as a way to improve the political situation and establish social justice within their states.

This paper will investigate the similarities and differences regarding the FARC guerrilla group recruitment of female combatants and the Chechen insurgent group recruitment of female suicide bombers. It will also analyze the motivations that prompted Colombian women to join FARC and Chechen women to become suicide bombers. The main argument that I seek to present and prove throughout my thesis is that despite having proved themselves as influential participants within non-state actors, later on classified as terrorist groups, both FARC female fighters and Black Widows remain as invisible perpetrators. Therefore, both FARC and the Chechen insurgent groups have failed to accomplish and set egalitarian standards to improve the status of women within the societies of Colombia and Chechnya.