Women form an important social base for the Islamist Extremist groups. Some help to recruit, generate funds, and carry out operations. Alshabaab, ISIS and Boko Haram, use sexual violence because it disrupts and further destabilizes families and communities, and stigmatizes women. This form of violence has distinct and devastating consequences that remain with individuals, communities and countries across generations.
Despite these grim dynamics, women can be powerful agents of change and can play a crucial role both in detecting early signs of radicalization, intervening before individuals become violent, delegitimizing violent extremist narratives, as well as affecting factors that contribute to radicalization.
In recent years, the role of women in preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) has gained momentum, hence governments are emphasizing on prevention efforts in CT strategies. This includes elements that address and counter the push and pull factors that lead to radicalization and recruitment as part of a more comprehensive approach, as opposed to military and intelligence strategies alone.
In research, women in terrorism and counterterrorism are categorized as participants, enablers, or preventers. Women in prevention roles have been studied less than women as actors or enablers. Because women are uniquely positioned as purveyors of affirmative change. Hence understanding the roles women play in the prevention of terrorism is crucial.
With the understanding that women everywhere influence their families and communities daily in very unique ways, Including them in CVE efforts improves the design, implementation, and evaluation of the policies and strategies put out.
It brings additional resources by promoting the unique and significant roles of women and girls in CVE. It also ensures that CVE efforts counter female radicalization and the various ways women and girls are involved in violent extremism and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Family and community relationships are critical determinants in the process of radicalization, and both women and men are part of that dynamic process.