Thematic Focus

1 Problematizing violent extremism

Using the richness and extensiveness of our network, we will critically engage with the concept of violent extremism and how different actors (male and female) at the international, national, and local communities’ levels understand and experience violent extremism. In particular, we will consider the potential harm of CVE and PVE programmes and interventions to local communities. Under this theme, we will also explore the impact of the countering violent extremism agenda on the Women, Peace and Security framework.

2 Gender and the spectrum of compliance, recruitment and radicalisation to defiance, countering and prevention

Under this theme, the network will seek to understand and deepen analysis of any relationship between gender and intersectionality (e.g. age, ethnicity, social group) and vulnerability to or engagement in violent extremism, and/or its prevention and countering. The network will examine gender vulnerabilities of men and women in the process of radicalisation and recruitment. This will include looking across mediums including online. Under this theme, the network will also develop an understanding of the gender regime within the different extremist groups and of the role that both women and men play inside the various violent extremist networks.

3 Gender, displacement, belonging and violent extremism

The network will promote critical thinking on the linkages between displacement, violent extremism and gender. Questions under this theme will examine the role of violent extremism in causing population displacement using a gender perspective and the role, if any, of displacement in driving violent extremism. Currently in European countries, there are considerable fears that migration is linked to violent extremism, these fears are feeding into feelings of xenophobia and anti-migrant sentiments and policies. This theme would allow the network to link the topic of violent extremism to its international and transnational dimensions and to discuss available evidence in this area.

4 Gender and resistance to violent extremism

Under this theme, the network will consider the role that men and women play ( grassroots and community level) in resisting and preventing violent extremism across different contexts. This discussion will contribute to exploring and problematising the notion of enhancing resilience to violent extremism among communities, a notion which suggests that the problem of violent extremism arises from, and solutions lie in, the “communities” rather than external factors and actors.

5 Violent extremism and the violence continuum

Under this theme, the network will seek to share learning and deepen understanding on links between violent extremism and other forms of violence within society and particularly gender-based violence. Feminist and peace-building research highlights how violence is a continuum and how different forms of violence within society are inter-connected and mutually reinforcing. Violence is also a continuum from the national to the international level, in this network we aim to discuss the linkages between gender and transnational crimes such as human trafficking. The network will also promote critical thinking on the linkages between gender-based violence and other forms of violence in society including violent extremism.

6 Violent extremism and sustainable development

Under this theme, the network will enable alternative perspective on violent extremism from a development perspective by looking at how violent extremism affects women’s and communities’ access to education, health (physical, mental and reproductive), education, land and resources. The network will also enable the reflection on solutions to violent extremism that are based in sustainable development.