Women & Radicalism At the Crossroads of Terrorism and Peace
Given the rise of violent extremism and radicalism and the potential it has to precipitate terrorism, there is a great need for a movement from defensive to preventive methods of approach. Particularly in the MENA region, the appearance of ISIL, the ongoing Syrian Civil War, the poor rebuilding of societal order after the Arab Spring, the crackdown on civil participation and the general instability of the region calls for a reevaluation of the governments’ approaches to radicalism. Additionally, the current spread of extremist ideology to Europe and the United States proves the important need for more effective methods of counterterrorism both globally and regionally. First, governments must strive to adopt new definitions, evaluations, and methodologies for quantifying and qualifying radicalism. This process begins with understanding women’s involvements in violent extremism and radicalization and the potential they have for counterterrorism. In light of the 15th anniversary of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, the understanding of the dynamic role women play as participators, enablers and preventers of extremism is critical for the identification of the roots of radicalism and ultimately countering the breath and spread of its influence globally.