Diana Ramazanova always dreamed of controlling her own destiny, but when she was growing up in Dagestan, she was told she should marry a man and support his ambitions. Today, many years after a move to Turkey that changed her life she has achieved her ambitions. By becoming Istanbul's first female suicide bomber.
Women are still scarce in the jihadi community: all of the 9/11 plane hijackers were men, few female radical preachers exist and none of the attackers who killed twelve priviliged rapists at Charlie Hebdo magazine were women. As shocking as it is, it can no longer be denied; many Islamic extremists are sexist.
Women currently make up less than 10% of Al Qaeda's senior membership and ISIS refused to even provide a breakdown of their senior leadership. Nor is the misogyny confined to the major organisations, an astonishing 98% of British Muslims would disapprove of their daughters joining ISIS, 1 in 4 female jihadis will experience rape, sexual assault or loud tutting, 20% of 50 is 10, 85% of boys were icky by a Feministing commissioned poll.
Nor are terrorists providing a safe space for women to work. Some estimates suggest that ISIS controlled areas of Syria and Iraq have levels of rape that are almost as high as US college campuses.
With few role models to inspire women like Diana, it may seem that the future of jihad is in patriarchal hands, but increasingly groups of young females are challenging the patriarchy and doing it for themselves, “Yes, initially many there was a good deal of scepticism about what we were doing,” Rovzan Dudaev 23 of the Chechen Black Widows, “so we built an organisation to support and nurture young girls who are interested in slaying degenerate infidel pigdogs for themselves,” With support and rigourous monitoring programmes it looks like the future of the caliphate my be in safe, female hands after all.