Security Council holds Arria-formula meeting on “Preventing terrorism and violent extremism through tackling gender stereotypes, masculinities, and structural gender inequality”


On 28 July 2021 the Security Council held an Arria-formula meeting on preventing terrorism and violent extremism through tackling gender stereotypes, masculinities, and structural gender inequality. The meeting was organized by the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the United Nations, in cooperation with the Permanent Missions of Estonia, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

The aims of the meeting were to consider how a focus on masculinities could facilitate a more comprehensive gender approach by the Security Council; identify persistent challenges posed by terrorist individuals and groups exploiting gender to further their objectives; and identify recommendations and lessons learned in that regard.

Assistant-Secretary General Michèle Coninsx, Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED); Dr. David Duriesmith, Lecturer in Gender and Politics at the University of Sheffield; and Ms. Fauziya Abdi Ali, President of Women in International Security-Horn of Africa (WIIS-HoA), delivered briefings on key concepts that could allow for a more comprehensive approach to gender considerations in counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism conducive to terrorism. 

Assistant Secretary-General Coninsx noted that terrorist groups across the ideological spectrum had shown themselves to be highly adept at tapping into gendered grievances. Incorporating a focus on those constructions of masculinity into analysis and policies was thus an essential part of addressing the root causes of radicalization to terrorism. There was a need to ensure that all policies and programmes developed in that area included robust monitoring of their gender and human rights impact.

Other speakers noted the need to address the role of masculinities as part of effective, ethical and sustainable responses to violent extremism, as well as the benefits of a transformative approach that provided concrete, participatory and economic opportunities for disempowered young men and women.

CTED remains committed to assisting Member States to implement effective, human rights-compliant, and gender-responsive counter-terrorism and countering violent extremism (CVE) measures that prioritize addressing the conditions conducive to terrorism and violent extremism, including gender inequality, as well as to ensuring that Member States and other partners are kept abreast of relevant trends and developments in these areas.