Causes and Effects of Women in Violent Extremism

Causes and Effects of Women in Violent Extremism

We have discussed why gender matters in CVE. This time we will explore the causes and effects of women inside the subject of violent extremism. Violent extremism itself is a long process influenced by various factors. As previously discussed, the 3P behind radicalisation (push, pull, and personal characteristics) can be further developed into Peter Neumann’s five drivers: grievance (societal tension, conflicts, fault lines that may cause thwarted expectations), needs (follower’s emotional needs satisfactions), ideas (making sense the grievances), people (authority figures), and violence (involvement in violence because exposure to violence itself) (UN Women, 2020). These drivers would affect the radicalisation process of men and women differently, even if they underwent the same recruitment and participation of a particular violent extremist group.

A study conducted with women from Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore found that they joined ISIS regardless of age, educational background, and social and economic status. They joined violent extremist groups to seek blessings by marrying jihadis or to achieve emancipation by leading recruitment, fundraising, and determining their direction as front liners (Zakuan, 2018). Using Neumann’s framework, we can see the combination of needs and ideas that are at play behind women participating in violent extremism. This means that various drivers have been identified but do not increase nor isolate other contributing factors and contexts. The psychological and cognitive factors supported by the rapid spread of ideas on online platforms also play a crucial role in individuals being receptive toward extremist groups (Johnston et al., 2020). 

The effects of women in violent extremism are rather more intriguing to be discussed as it dramatically affects their life and changes their ways of thinking. After finding that violent extremist groups did not fulfill their needs, Madam MN from Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT) found that her husband’s return from incarceration opened an opportunity to educate her children to avoid violent extremism. She believes that her husband’s participation in MIT brings them misery, and the way to go forward is to develop the interest and talents of children alongside nonviolent ideology. In other words, the effects of women participating or being available inside the inner circle of violent extremist groups also open a doorway to deradicalisation and create a narrative that breaks the chain of traditional extremism that is often passed down from one generation to another (Azca & Putri, 2021). Thus, learning the causes and effects of how women inside violent extremism are essential in the P/CVE subject.



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Causes And Effects Of Women In VE, Kevin Adhitya, P/CVE., Women, Women In Violent Extremism