A Decade Lost: Locating Gender in U.S. Counter-Terrorism

A Decade Lost: Locating Gender in U.S. Counter-Terrorism provides the first global study of how the U.S. government’s (USG) counter-terrorism efforts profoundly implicate and impact women and sexual minorities. Over the last decade of the United States’ “War on Terror,” the oft-unspoken assumption that men suffer the most—both numerically and in terms of the nature of rights violations endured— has obscured the way women and sexual minorities experience counter-terrorism, rendering their rights violations invisible to policymakers and the human rights community alike. This failure to consider either the differential impacts of counter-terrorism on women, men, and sexual minorities or the ways in which such measures use and affect gender stereotypes and relations cannot continue. As the USG leads a world-wide trend toward a more holistic approach to countering terrorism that mobilizes the 3Ds—defense, diplomacy, and development—and increasingly emphasizes the role of women in national security, the extent to which counter-terrorism efforts include and impact women and sexual minorities is set to rise. As the ten-year anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001 approaches, now is the time for the USG and governments the world-over to take stock of, redress, and deter the gender-based violations that occur in a world characterized by the proliferation of terrorism and counter-terrorism and the squeezing of women and sexual minorities between the two.

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