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Executive Summary

Prevent, one of four strands of the UK government’s counter-terrorism strategy, aims to ‘stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.’ Established in 2003, Prevent has included numerous initiatives that have specifically focused on women, for example in the context of mosque reformation and the inclusion of ‘moderate voices,’ or the creation of women’s stakeholder groups (NMWAG) to advise the government on prevention issues. Some of these have proved to be highly contentious, and have undergone numerous transformations, with some even calling for the termination of the Prevent program altogether. This paper will outline some specific Prevent, and related countering violent extremism (CVE), initiatives that have focused on women and highlight key criticisms of both the initiatives themselves, and the wider UK counter-terrorism and CVE agenda. By interrogating these, it aims to offer a case study of how lessons learned in the UK can inform policy in other contexts where women are being engaged to counter violent extremism.

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