Until now, the western women joining Isis have largely been portrayed as passive – travelling to marry jihadists and bear their children away from the frontline. But as police across the UK prepare for possible attacks against them and with Europe on high alert following arrests of suspected Islamist militants in Belgium, France and Germany, the ICSR work shows that many such women are part of the escalating threat.

Melanie Smith, research fellow at the ICSR and the person in charge of the first known database of female foreign fighters, said: “British women tend to incite [attacks], they say to people that can’t move to the Islamic State: ‘Why not carry out something at home?’ That’s a common message: if you can’t leave your family behind or afford to move to Syria then carry out something.”

Information from the database, which has details of 70 women, the youngest a French 15-year-old, suggests the portrayal of women as merely providing support and children for male fighters is becoming increasingly outdated.