VIENNA, 12 December 2011 – The dynamics behind the terrorist radicalization of women and ways to prevent it from happening was the focus of a meeting organized by the OSCE today for experts from academia, civil society, the media and OSCE participating States.
More than 60 participants examined the factors conducive to the terrorist radicalization of women. The meeting highlighted the potential for the radicalization of women and their involvement in violent extremist groups. According to the organizers, this potential has long existed but has been underestimated due to a prevailing perception that terrorism and violent extremism concerns only men.
“Recent attacks perpetrated by women as well as intelligence on continued efforts by terrorists to recruit women makes it clear that we must take the threat of radicalization of women seriously and consider how to take effective preventive action,” said Raphael Perl, the Head of the OSCE Secretariat Action against Terrorism Unit.
The experts also highlighted the possible adverse impact of counter-radicalization measures on women’s rights could have in fostering terrorism, and emphasized the need to mainstream gender in all counter-terrorism efforts.
“A gender perspective and respect for human rights are integral to successfully preventing women’s involvement in terrorism,” said Snježana Bokulić, the Head of the Human Rights Department at the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
Hanna Sands, Gender Officer at the OSCE Gender Section, said: “To be efficient, any preventive measure requires a comprehensive gender analysis of the role of men and women in society. The equal access to economic, social and political rights should be seen as key to undermining terrorism and the radicalization of women.”
The meeting was organized by the OSCE Secretariat Action against Terrorism Unit, the Gender Section and ODIHR.
A follow-up expert roundtable meeting, focusing on the role and empowerment of women in countering violent extremism and radicalization that leads to terrorism, will take place in early 2012.