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July 4, 2022

Ways in which women can contribute to prevention and countering violent extremism

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With the Surge in the involvement of women in crime and terrorism, there is necessity for counterterrorism strategies of equal measure in the fight against terrorism founded from the grassroots by the community. Fighting this vice is a communal responsibility as terrorists attack with impartiality to gender, age, socioeconomic status or ethnic background among other aspects. However, women majorly find themselves on the receiving end with the loss of spouses and children coupled with economic instability by having to take up the role of “breadwinner”, if they initially did not take up the role.

Women can curtail the connection between society and violent extremists in several ways:

  • Being present in their children’s lives from conception, through developmental stages and into adulthood. This way, they will manage to identify and monitor any physical and behavioral changes in their family members that may result from involvement with violent extremists.
  • Raising and nurturing children in morally upright ways. As the first point of contact with children, they can mould them in the best way possible by instilling the right mindsets and approaches towards life.
  • Encouraging young girls to continue with their education, and discouraging early child marriages. By assisting them through certain changes in childhood, through puberty and into adulthood, we avoid women being lured into joining extremist groups to obtain resources to finance their personal needs:
    • they will also feel cared for and a sense of belonging from within, as opposed to getting the same in terrorist gangs where they get sexually assaulted unfortunately transmitting incurable diseases and or unwanted early pregnancies.

Women should selflessly strive to provide for their families and be resilient during tough times.

Through joint communal effort, without stigmatization of Widows and mothers to victims of radicalization and terrorism, communities should unite to encourage each other and come up with self-sustaining projects to ensure economic sustainability.