To distill the violent insurrection into a tale of white male rage is to overlook the threat that women in the mob posed to congressional officials, law enforcement and U.S. democracy that day, observers say.
Several women have been identified as alleged participants in the events of Jan. 6. Among those women are a former school occupational therapist, an employee of a county sheriff’s office, a real estate broker and a former mayoral candidate, reports The Conversation. At least one woman is being investigated for her role in organizing the attack with fellow members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia movement.
And Ashli Babbit, a female veteran, was shot dead by police while attempting to breach the Senate floor. The women who took part in the siege of the Capitol are part of a long history of women’s participation in extremist violence, both in the United States and abroad.
A 2005 study noted a disconnect between the rise in women within American right-wing terrorist organizations and the attention it received from law enforcement. Despite a marked increase in women’s engagement in acts of terror against the state and racial minorities, security officials have largely failed to publicize, search and interrogate women operatives in these organizations, even after they become known to law enforcement.
There is also evidence that American far-right women have drawn inspiration and tactical knowledge from women engaged in extremist violence abroad. Evidence from the global war on terror points to the potential dangers of ignoring the growth of violent extremism among women. Research suggests that attacks by female terrorists are often more destructive than those executed by their male counterparts.