Women, gender, and militancy intersect in contemporary conflicts in South Asia in complex ways. Conflicts simultaneously loosen and reinforce socially accepted gender roles, producing both empowering and disempowering effects on women. Militancy is a fundamentally gendered phenomenon deeply entrenched in the ideal of normative masculinity and the politics of militarization. Strong association between masculinity and militancy makes the latter highly discriminatory toward women. Conventional wisdom ascribes sex-specific motivations and roles to men and women in militancy. It holds that women join militant groups for personal reasons, i.e., personal loss, social stigma, or following male family members. Afghanistan has a long history of female militancy. In 1880, a Pashtun woman named Malalai is known to have led the Afghans against the British in the Battle of Maiwand. The Afghan Taliban and associated groups, like the Haqqani Network and Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, have proven consistent in excluding women from the insurgency.