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WOMEN'S ROLES IN TERRORIST GROUPS IN THE MENA


Women's participation in terrorist activity has grown over time and the roles that women play in terrorist groups have shifted from supportive roles to more operational ones.

MENA - Fight Against Terrorism, Women Peace & Security - Format: PDF - Size: 1.68 - Date: Sep, 2021 - Pages: 30- Copyright: NATO Strategic Direction South HUB - Tags: #WPS #terrorism #womenempowerement #isis #security #wearenato

Background

Over the last few years, security forces have dismantled all-female cells that were plotting and planning terrorist attacks. Some terrorist groups have openly called women to arms under the pretence of 'defensive jihad' .

The active involvement of women in terrorist activities should not detract from the roles that women play in preventing and countering radicalization and terrorism, or the ways in which terrorist groups perpetuate gender-based discrimination and violence.

Key insights

Trends

  • Research suggests that TG’s are more likely to recruit and deploy female fighters when they come under mounting pressure.
  • Women's role in efforts to counter female engagement in terrorist groups is essential and indispensable. 
  • Women's roles - whether in security efforts or within violent groups have been overlooked and underestimated.
  • The active involvement of women in terrorist activities should not detract from the roles that women play in preventing and countering radicalization and terrorism


Research questions

  1. What is the level of active engagement of women in terrorist activities?

  2. What are the factors of the increasing involvement of women in terroristic activity?


Key recommendations

  • Additional research on women's increasing involvement in terrorist activity to increase effectiveness of counter-terrorism responses.
  • Document & disseminate  lessons learned. Collective experience should be captured and incorporated into policy and practice. 
  • Conduct gender-sensitive analysis and threat assessment. Incorporating gender perspectives into the analysis of terrorism trends as well as evaluating the terrorist threats that women pose. 
  • Addressing gender-specific barriers to women's participation in the security sector and improving the recruitment, retention and advancement of women therein. 
  • Developing gender expertise in enforcement, investigation and prosecution capacities.
  • Consultation with women leaders to shape prevention, de-radicalization and rehabilitation programs are important. 
  • Training for law enforcement should emphasize the need to involve women (in culturally-appropriate ways) in community-police dialogues on counter-terrorism.
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