Sometimes it’s the small news which makes the big news, and in this case, the fact that women are changing their role under the Caliphate to a more active one has a great significance for analysts covering the war in Iraq and Syria. ISIS knows they are losing ground, and this time they need help.

Women in ISIS

Despite ISIS being a very “modern” Islamic terrorist organization in terms of female involvement, truth is under the caliphate the role of women has still mostly been the one of wife and mother of future soldiers. Al Qaeda already brought some innovation in terms of women’s involvement in the organization, allowing them to perpetrate suicide bombings.

However, ISIS under the lead of Abu Bakr al Bagdadi has gone a step further with the creation of ISIS’s first female brigade named Al Jamsa.

As ISIS loses ground and with only an estimated 30,000 soldiers left – according to the CIA -- to hold the lines of their vast territories, they are in need of more. Until now, this more active role of women has been evident in tasks such as; the administration of the cities under control, the administration of the websites -- in what constitutes ISIS´s propaganda -- and the judging and punishing of those who disobey the strict laws imposed by Sharia Law.

The new role of women

ISIS is aware that desperate times require desperate measures. Kurdish forces – who by the way, are famous for their female divisions – have intercepted in the last weeks messages sent by women from the frontlines, in something that has been new for the moment.

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Also, the frustrated attack three radicalized women were planning in Paris shows ISIS is discovering the new value women can have for the organization.

At the moment, two things seem clear. the fact that ISIS has started using women actively in the defense of the Caliphate shows that things are not going as expected and they are in need of all the help possible, even if that means engaging women in new tasks forbidden to them not too long ago.

Also, the change of strategy regarding women has to motivate a strategic response by those at war with ISIS. The new role of women in the organization has to be taken into account, as it doesn’t seem like it will be long until we see women fighting in the trenches or organizing terrorist attacks abroad. After years of war, even ISIS has had to evolve.