Roundtable Discussion, March 18 2015

The Global Center and Hedayah hosted a roundtable discussion bringing together diplomats, UN officials, practitioners, and civil society representatives for a discussion on practical opportunities and challenges in integrating a gender dimension into countering violent extremism (CVE) efforts. Speakers were invited to offer initial reflections and included: Jamal J. Al Musharakh, acting deputy permanent representative of the Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations; Hilde Klemetsdal, counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations; and Sarah Taylor, women, peace and security advocate from Human Rights Watch. An interactive discussion followed, highlighting some critical questions and lessons learned from governmental and nongovernmental perspectives.

Roundtable participants reflected on whether there is a particular role for women in CVE efforts and if or how a gender analysis could be effectively integrated into CVE practice. Speakers highlighted the benefits of women’s empowerment in economic, political, and social spheres and reflected on the positive contributions made to enhancing resilience against violent extremism. Practical initiatives such as policies and programs were discussed, including how efforts to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 can contribute to CVE objectives. There was broad agreement about the importance of consulting with and engaging women in the development and implementation of counterterrorism and CVE efforts, but participants cautioned against instrumentalizing the work of women and women’s groups for security purposes because this can negatively impact their credibility and present greater risks to their safety.

Authors’ Workshop, March 18-19

As part of the Global Center and Hedayah project to produce and develop a joint publication on the roles of women in CVE, a two-day workshop was convened to provide an opportunity for contributing authors to present their drafts and invite feedback from the group. The workshop elicited a candid and substantive debate around the critical issues in developing and implementing CVE programming, particularly from the perspective of civil society actors. Contributing authors to the publication include:

  • Alison Davidian, UN Women
  • Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, Women in International Security, United States
  • Guillaume Denoix de Saint Marc, Association française des Victimes du Terrorisme, France
  • Sahana Dharmapuri, independent gender advisor, United States
  • Ross Frenett, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, United Kingdom
  • Jayne Huckerby, Duke University School of Law, United States
  • Oluwakemi Okenyodo, CLEEN Foundation, Nigeria
  • Mariam Safi, Organization for Policy Research and Development Studies, Afghanistan
  • Edit Schlaffer and Ulrich Kropiunigg, Women Without Borders/Sisters Against Violent Extremism, Austria

A number of key themes emerged from the discussions, reflecting some of the important concerns raised during the roundtable: securitization, funding, security, and credibility. Authors drew on a broad range of professional and regional experiences in fields such as development, human rights law, security sector reform, advocacy, and international security policy to reflect on how lessons learned from these fields could contribute to a greater gender dimension in policies and programs to prevent violent extremism at all levels—analysis, program design and implementation, and evaluation.

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