The role of women and their full participation in decision-making processes is fundamental to peace and security. In connection with rising violent extremism conducive to terrorism, gender mainstreaming – the process of assessing the implications for women and men in legislation, policies, or programmes at all levels – is vital. It helps to dismantle pre-conceived perceptions about terrorism and violent extremism built on the assumptions of men being the sole relevant actors.
As such, UN Security Council resolution 2242 (2015) recognizes the need to mainstream gender considerations into the activities of UN agencies that address the prevention of violent extremism (PVE) and counterterrorism.
In this context, UNODC’s Terrorism Prevention Branch delivered advanced regional training on mainstreaming gender in counterterrorism and PVE on 14-15 July 2021. The virtual event, which was a follow-up to the joint regional training on gender dimensions of criminal justice responses to terrorism (held in February 2021), further reinforced the understanding and knowledge of South Asian public officials on addressing female radicalization processes and preventing women's involvement in violent extremism leading to terrorism.
With the fruitful contribution of nine expert speakers, participating practitioners identified PVE strategies by addressing the root causes conducive to violent extremism for women in South Asia. Among those strategies, participants particularly emphasized women’s empowerment and their active participation in developing national counterterrorism and PVE frameworks and social media literacy to further prevent exploitation and recruitment by terrorist and violent extremist groups.
Furthermore, the training identified good practices in the rehabilitation and reintegration strategies and promoted multi-agency and multi-disciplinary coordination mechanisms. It also guided the development of local partnerships with civil society organizations focusing on women and youth to ensure effective and sustainable responses based on whole-of-society approaches.
The online training was conducted with the support of the Government of Japan.