GENDER AND VIOLENT EXTREMISM
Given the constant ramification and ambivalence surrounding violent extremism and gender, we see both systems as critical to understanding the contemporary and transnational currents that effect our societies.
The series, which contains 7 chapters, explores multiple themes, ranging from gender to security and from policy frameworks to initiatives being conducted on the ground. Questions such as the influences of masculinity and femininity were explored as a way to uncover the many layers of a conflict and its dynamics.
In many regions that have already faced internal strife for decades, such as Nigeria and Syria, extremist groups have proliferated and aligned. In these conflict-settings, acts of violence tend to be highly gendered and usually exploit rigid stereotypes about masculinity and femininity. For instance, men and boys are routinely targeted for recruitment. Another example, which is explored in chapter 6, can be found in the actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) in their exploitation of gender norms and portrayal of women as the ‘future mothers of jihadi children’ or when the armed group target men using the message that male fighters will be rewarded with as many women as they wish. Accordingly, using a gender lens also includes men and boys, as gender refers to the different needs, experience and status of both women and men based in a social-cultural construct.