Can a gendered approach improve responses to violent extremism? 


It has been argued that ‘terrorism and violent extremism are highly gendered activities.’ In addition, gendered perspectives are already acknowledged in preventing violent extremism (PVE) and counter-terrorism (CT) policy frameworks. This report assesses how gendered approaches to policy and practices relating to PVE and CT could bring greater value, beyond the importance of gender in its own right. The findings presented here indicate that gender equality and women’s empowerment may be key to the success of CT responses and PVE programming, but further research is required. 

About the authors

Irene Ndung’u is a researcher in the Transnational Threats and International Crime Programme of the ISS. 

Mothepa Shadung is a junior researcher in the Transnational Threats and International Crime Programme of the ISS. 

About the project

This report is part of a series of papers on democracy, security, and violent extremism prepared for the Community of Democracies’ Democracy and Security Dialogue. The project seeks to foster greater collaboration among democratic governments, donors, civil society and academics to improve security outcomes and create a more conducive environment for the strengthening of democracy around the world. For more on the project and related materials, including the final report, visit

Picture: ©Terence Faircloth

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