On 27 February 2019, the United Nations Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) launched its third Trends Report, The Gender Dimensions of the Response to Returning Foreign Terrorist Fighters, at a joint event with George Washington University for its “Examining Gender and the Future of Women in Violent Extremism” Paper Series. Held at the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations, the launch featured remarks by H.E. Christoph Heusgen, Ambassador of Germany to the United Nations, and CTED’s Executive Director, Assistant Secretary-General Michèle Coninsx.
“The report makes clear that important gaps remain in our efforts to understand and address the gender dimensions of terrorism and violent extremism. The Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate is committed to strengthening dialogue among experts, practitioners, scholars, and civil society,” said Assistant Secretary-General Coninsx.
Moderated by Idil Absiye of UN Women, a panel discussion included Audrey Alexander of George Washington University, Devorah Margolin of King’s College London, CTED experts Aleksandra Dier and David Wells, and invited guests.
“How do we cope with cases that defy stereotypes?” asked Ms. Alexander. “The report highlights the very real ways in which failure to integrate a gender perspective in counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism leads to insufficient policy responses,” said Ms. Dier.
The report – which primarily draws on the work of academia and think tanks, particularly members of CTED’s Global Research Network (GRN) – seeks to provide counter-terrorism policy makers, practitioners, and experts with an analysis of the latest research into some of the challenges presented by the gender dimensions of the foreign terrorist fighter (FTF) phenomenon. The report presents the latest research findings on (1) the numbers and demographics of women who travel to, return from, and remain in the conflict zone of Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic; (2) the drivers of female radicalization; (3) gendered narratives used by terrorists; and (4) implications for counter-measures.
The report was prepared by CTED in accordance with Security Council resolution 2395 (2017), which reaffirms the essential role of CTED within the United Nations to identify and assess issues, trends, and developments relating to the implementation of a number of Security Council resolutions related to counter-terrorism.
CTED’s work with academia and think tanks via GRN helps to inform the Counter-Terrorism Committee and the global counter-terrorism policy-making community about these issues, trends, and developments. CTED’s Global Research Network, which was created in February 2015, consists of over 100 leading research institutions from around the world.
The report can be accessed here.
More photos from the meeting can be found on CTED’s Flickr.