Ensure that CVE efforts counter women and girls’ involvement in violent extremism, including by identifying gender dynamics in radicalization leading to terrorism and preventing it among women and girls.
CVE efforts should focus on preventing women and girls from being recruited into, joining, or otherwise supporting violent extremism and terrorism. Women and girls are involved in violent extremism in a range of capacities. Engagement can be direct, by being recruited into or joining terrorist groups to perpetrate terrorist violence (e.g., as suicide bombers) or to participate in planning and preparing attacks. Women and girls are also mobilizers, recruiting other women and girls, especially in their peer groups, as well as men and boys.
In some environments, women and girls’ inequalities, sexual and gender-based violence, marginalization, and lack of opportunities, may make them more susceptible to the appeal of terrorism. Grievances may also arise where women and girls feel they have been adversely impacted by counterterrorism policies, such as when they are part of a group that feels disproportionately targeted, or if they lost a relative in the context of counterterrorism. Women and girls may also shame men and boys into committing acts of violence to demonstrate their masculinity to avenge perceived injustices. Violent extremists increasingly target women and girls to join, mobilize, and otherwise support their activities by exploiting these grievances and assumptions about men’s and women’s roles. A response to this may require distinct programming that specifically addresses the needs of women and girls.