Gender, Religion, Extremism: Finding Women in Anti-Radicalization

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Colleges, School and Institutes


This volume offers a feminist critique of counter- and deradicalization programs, including those under the umbrella of “preventing and countering violent extremism.” Based on insights from five countries and examples from elsewhere, the book shows how, collectively, efforts rely on particular narratives of agency, security, and human rights. Putting gender at the center of the analysis reveals significant limitations in antiradicalization work—in construction, operation, and evaluation. First, these programs fail to explore or engage with how masculinity and femininity inform the radicalization process. As a result, they cannot successfully understand the personal drivers or the sociopolitical environment of these programs. Second, within the operations of these programs male radicalization is clearly and unreflectively linked to an excessive but flawed masculinity, while ideas about women’s radicalization depend on orientalist stereotypes about passivity and subjugation. Solutions for male deradicalization therefore hinge on particular ideals of masculinity that few men can obtain, and deradicalizing women is seen as a rescue mission. Third, the impact of these programs derives from a racialized paternalist logic that justifies intervention in “ordinary lives” in the name of security, yet fails to deliver. There is a gendered differential in the impact of counter-radicalization measures. Although the rhetoric of countering terrorism is often couched in a narrative of “women’s rights” and “liberal values,” the book demonstrates that the consequences are often detrimental to these precepts. The book concludes by offering an alternative way of thinking about and implementing antiradicalization efforts, rooted in a feminist peace.


Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages240
ISBN (Print)9780190075699
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2020

Publication series

NameOxford Studies in Gender and International Relations


  • gender, countering violent extremism, P/CVE, counter-radicalization, Islam, agency, women, femininities, masculinities, jihad