The Cross-Regional Women’s Forum, focused on the role of women in the prevention of violent extremism (PVE), was held at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV) in Spain on 5-6 July 2023. The event aimed to collect the voices of women and engage them as active actors in policymaking and resilience-building and brought together experts, researchers, and activists from various countries to share experiences and identify challenges and opportunities in the field.
The forum began with welcome remarks from Sandra Ramos, Councillor of Culture of the Tarragona City Council, Víctor Merino Sancho, Commissioner for Equality, Diversities and Welfare at URV, and Senén Florensa, Executive President of the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed). The opening conference, moderated by journalist Maria-Alba Gilabert from Catalunya Ràdio, featured panelists Nancy Yammout and Maya Yamout from Rescue Me-For the best than you can be, and Mersiha Turudija from Education builds BiH-Jovan Divjak.
In the first sessions, the forum explored participants’ understanding of PVE, their approaches to prevention from their different national or professional contexts, and identified challenges, good practices, and transferable experiences.
Another session was devoted to addressing gender in violent extremism (VE) at a policy level. The focus was on examining the role of gender in security, particularly in the context of VE. Topics covered included existing biases in security studies, the study and approach to women’s radicalisation, differences in drivers between men and women, the use of gender patterns by violent extremist organizations, the framing of women’s roles in VEOs, and empowering women as agents of change in P/CVE.
Overall, the Cross-Regional Women’s Forum provided a platform for women involved in PVE to share experiences, discuss challenges and opportunities, and contribute to the development of prevention strategies. The event emphasized the importance of recognizing women as active agents in policymaking and resilience-building, moving beyond their roles solely as targets or victims of violent extremism.
With the upcoming Toolkit Methodolgy Lab in Amman in September, another session of the Women’s Forum aimed to enrol women in the identification of tools and measures to prevent violent extremism, highlighting the role of women in this field.
Based on research and the discussions held at the forum, CONNEKT will publish a Cross-Regional Policy Paper on Gender Perspective in Violent Extremism.