Recognizing the critique of sexual essentialism in the Women, Peace and Security
(WPS) agenda, this article moves beyond this familiar narrative to address the
narrowness of conflict frames that have to date been engaged by the WPS agenda.
The events of 11 September 2001 brought new urgency and vibrancy to state action
in the realm of counterterrorism. This momentum was illustrated both by the
response of national legal systems and by more concerted efforts to achieve multilateral
and multilevel counterterrorism cooperation on the international level.
Notably, terrorism and counterterrorism have long been of only marginal interest
to mainstream feminist legal theorists. Until recently concerted analytical feminist
scrutiny has been missing in the assessment of terrorism, radicalism and counter
terrorism discourses. This article addresses the lack of attention to terrorism,
counterterrorism and countering violent extremism (CVE) initiatives in the WPS
mandate and its consequences for mainstreaming gender interests in foundational
aspects of peace and security practice. Recent normative augmentations including
UNSCR 2242 and the amplified mandate of the Counter-Terrorism Committee
to include gender considerations are assessed. The article argues that these moves
to include gender come late, and on the terms set by security-minded states. The
late attention to gender in counterterrorism leaves little capacity to produce an
inclusive and reimagined feminist agenda addressing the causes conducive to the
production of terrorism and the costs to women of counterterrorism strategies.
This pessimistic assessment warns of the pitfalls of exclusion and inclusion in the
new security regimes that have been fashioned post 9/11 by states.