The Roles of Women in Counter-Radicalisation and Disengagement (CRaD) Processes: Best Practices and Lessons Learned from Europe and the Arab World

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Author: Jennifer Philippa Eggert (2018)

Strategies aimed at countering radicalisation and violent extremism are often based on hard security concepts, with military approaches being prioritised. Comprehensive concepts that take into account the complexity of security issues and include soft security factors are, in many cases, neglected. In CRaD and security more generally, several societal groups which tend to be marginalised in the political sphere anyway are largely excluded from debates on security issues. This includes, for example, women and youth. Despite this fact, in recent years, soft security approaches have been increasingly debated. Awareness of the importance to include marginalised societal groups, such as women and youth, is slowly but surely increasing. Nevertheless, women’s roles not only as victims and perpetrators of political violence but also as (potential) actors in CRaD processes often remain overlooked and underestimated. Programmes and projects aimed at facilitating and supporting CRaD processes that take into account the roles of women remain the exception. Many existing programmes have been criticised for the problematic approaches they take. This paper aims at discussing existing approaches to CRaD and the roles of women in these processes by highlighting academic and international practitioners’ debates as well as the experience of three grassroots organisations that work in Lebanon, the UK and Germany. It then discusses the broader applicability of these initiatives in Lebanon.

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