The European Union, with support from the Counter-Terrorism Monitoring, Reporting and Support Mechanism (CT MORSE),* held an event on the margins of the opening of the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly, focused on integrating a gender dimension into preventing and countering violent extremism policy and practice. Hosted by Ambassador Mara Marinaki, managing director at the European External Action Service (EEAS), the event included a panel of senior government and UN officials, moderated by Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, co-founder and executive director, International Civil Society Network. A second panel focused more on civil society and programmatic efforts and was moderated by Naureen Chowdhury Fink, head of research and analysis, Global Center.
The discussions highlighted the multifaceted and cross-cutting nature of violent extremism and its impact on women, as well as considered efforts being undertaken to support community-level engagement that empowers families and communities to identify and respond to potential challenges. Speakers explored the intersection between conflict, violence, and gender as well as the need for governmental, regional, and multilateral organizations to include a gender perspective in all levels of policy and decision making, particularly in efforts to address the threat of terrorism and violent extremism.
Among some of the local initiatives discussed, the development of a community guide by the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality for use in Muslim communities to inform and support community leaders to challenge Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant narratives and arguments, drawing primarily on religious scholarship and scripture. Other initiatives, such as PAIMAN in Pakistan, work directly with mothers of radicalized or at-risk youths to help reintegrate them back into their communities through religious teachings, skills building, job training, and education. Perspectives were also shared by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and Hedayah focusing on strengthening governmental and civil society efforts; Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental organization, focused on the advocacy of human rights worldwide.
* CT MORSE provides policy monitoring and support for the European Union’s Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace. The project is implemented by a consortium of four of the leading independent institutes on transnational security: the Institute for Security Studies, the Global Centre, the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, and the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime.