Women and De-Radicalization: Comparative Perspectives

The question of how to disengage and reintegrate participants of violence extremist groups has become urgent. To date, female participants have been relatively neglected despite evidence of their growing numbers. The 2016 Europol Terrorism Situation and Trend Report found that the share of women arrested on terrorism charges rose from 18 to 25 percent between 2015- 2016. The Guardian reported in 2015 that 10% of European foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq are women, and media coverage of the battle for Mosul highlighted the presence of women from Germany, Canada, and other Western countries. Deradicalization programs have historically focused on men, and scant research addresses the gendered dynamics of deradicalization. Yet women are being captured and returned to their countries of origin in Europe and the US, as well as Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria and Mali, among others. Understanding whether there are particular challenges and opportunities in deradicalization and reintegration efforts for women and girls, and how these can be addressed, is a global security imperative.

A diverse group of academics, policymakers and practitioners shared findings from programs and research in the United States, Kenya and Nigeria. This discussion informed a policy brief on women and de-radicalization.