Have you ever wondered how women get involved in violent extremism and what roles they play in it? What the perceptions and drivers are and what motivates them?
Female radicalization is an under-studied and growing problem in Bangladesh, requiring specific research and program attention. Understanding it and the role of women in Violent Extremism is critical to prevention efforts.
UN Agencies in collaboration with Centre for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka brought together diverse stakeholders working on the prevention and countering of violent extremism (PVE and CVE), and Counter Terrorism (CT) to share and discuss research findings and experience in responding to female radicalization, identify existing policy and programmatic gaps and highlight good practices and lessons learned.
Discussion centered around the influence of social media in the radicalization process and online propaganda targeting women. It was clear through the research findings that while many women are passive actors, some play active roles in radicalization and violent extremism. It was also obvious that promoting alternative narratives and strengthening the narratives of tolerance and pluralism, including in education remains a collective effort.
Women therefore need to be at the center of PVE efforts and be enabled to play active roles in preventing it.
The National Action Plan on Women Peace and Security serves as a national roadmap for women’s active and equal participation in prevention, peace and security and helps to coordinate efforts, including to counter and prevent female radicalization, we must continue to give importance to community engagement and women’s participation in PVE. The conference specifically highlighted:
- The importance of community engagement along with conventional policing in countering and preventing of VE.
- The need to study the relationship between gender-based violence and violent extremism.
- The need for more efforts to monitor and analyze VE online propaganda targeting women, disseminate findings among P/CVE actors, and promote alternative narratives.
- Bringing women more to the center of PVE measures, including woman centric or tailored PVE programs targeting women
- Need to strengthen the narratives of tolerance and pluralism, including in education
- UN resolution on Women, Peace and Security (1325) provides opportunities to guide and coordinate efforts to counter and prevent female radicalization. However, the resolution does not consider the intersectionality of women; hence it needs to be "unpacked" and contextualized for Bangladesh.
- We must support isolated women at risk, facilitate social interaction and provide access to information.
- Urgent need for gender-sensitive deradicalization and criminal justice response
The conference included presentations from the Centre for Genocide Studies, UNDP, Center of Peace and Justice, UN Women, UNOCT and UNODC.