Gender and Violent Extremism

Gender Constructs and Role Adoption in Violent Extremism (2019)

Investigators: Jacqui True and Alexandra Phelan

Funding Partner: Victorian Government


This project examines how constructs of masculinity and femininity facilitate or challenge role adoption in far-right, far-left and radical Islamist violent extremism. It examines the interplay of gender identity, socio-economic status, and ideological beliefs in determining individual radicalisation pathways.

Motivations for women and men to join violent extremist groups may be similar, but men and women participate in violent extremism differently and pathways in radicalisation are distinct. Extremist groups explicitly tailor their recruitment strategies to address these distinct motivations of women and men. A gendered understanding of ideological and material motivations is thus crucial to effectively counter and prevent violent extremism (see True et al 2019). Women play multiple roles in violent extremism, as sympathisers, mobilisers, logistical managers, preventers, and perpetrators.

Existing research examines how these roles differ amongst far-left, far-right and radical Islamist ideological tendencies. However, it does not investigate or explain why violent extremist networks/organisations target men and women with gender-specific online messaging and recruitment strategies. The research addresses this knowledge gap by investigating how gender influences role adoption in far-right, far-left and radical Islamist networks, and how online gender-messaging challenges or reinforces these roles. The report investigates how gendered online messaging influences role adoption by 1) Mapping online content to produce a typology toolkit for intelligence/risk assessment; and 2) Researching the three target groups via content analysis, legal analysis and interviews.

Framework for a gendered analysis of countering violent extremism (CVE) policy and programs in Victoria (Framework) (2019)

Primary Chief Investigator: Jacqui True

Funding Partner: Department of Justice and Community Safety (Victoria)

Synopsis: This project will develop a framework supporting the application of a gendered analysis of countering violent extremism (CVE) policy and programs in Victoria (Framework).

The Framework will contribute to the increased effectiveness of policy and programs by:

  • promoting gender sensitive practices in policies, program and service delivery
  • facilitating an increased understanding of the experiences of women and men and their roles and relationships in relation to violent extremism
  • ensuring Victorian Government staff who lead CVE policy and program development and delivery understand gender analysis and how to apply it and integrate it into their work.

Gender Equality and Violent Extremism: A Research Agenda (2017-2019)

Chief Investigators: Jacqui TrueEleanor Gordon, Melissa Johnson

Funding Partner: UN Women with funding from the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Research Partner: Eirene Associates (Morocco)


Monash Gender, Peace and Security Centre has won a competitive UN bid to establish a new research agenda in North Africa (Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) on the gendered dynamics of violent extremism in North Africa including gender analysis of extremist recruitment and mobilization, impacts of violent extremism and terrorism, and efforts to prevent and counter their threat in the region. Monash GPS will partner with Eirene Associates (Morocco), and together will build the research capacity of national research institutes/organisations in each of the countries in North Africa. The 18 month project will create an evidence base to inform effective, gender-sensitive P/CVE policy and programming.

The Sexism and Violence Nexus
Academic Paper (UN Women):
Gender Equality and VE: A Research Agenda for Libya

Policy Brief: Misogyny and VE, Oct 2019

A Gender Sensitive Approach to Preventing Violent Extremism in Asia and the Pacific (2018-2019)

Chief Investigators: Jacqui TrueEleanor GordonKatrina Lee-Koo, Kerry O'Brien, Muhammad Iqbal, Melissa Johnston and Yasmin Chilmeran

Partner Investigators: Centre for Law, Gender and Society, Gadjah Mada University, Oxfam Bangladesh, GZO Peace Institute (GZOPI), Ateneo University, Manila, the Philippines

Funding Partner: UN Women


The research project will analyse the role that women, as well as men, can and do play in promoting or preventing violent extremism in three countries: Indonesia, Bangladesh and the Philippines. The research will also investigate how notions of masculinity and femininity are used by violent extremist groups to radicalise and recruit men and women in these countries.

Read more on Preventing Violent Extremism.

"The Impact of Gender Identities, Norms and Relations on Violent Extremism Animation"

Online Publications:

report cover
Report: A Gender Sensitive Approach to Empowering Women For Peaceful Communities

Full Paper: Impact of Gender Identities, Norms and Relations on Violent Extremism

Regional Brief: Indonesia, Bangladesh and The Philippines

Country Brief: Bangladesh

Country Brief: Indonesia

Country Brief: Philippines

Research Dialogue | Gender and P/CVE: the role of civil society organisations (2018)

Investigator: Jacqui True

Funding Partner: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)


This project is a collaboration between Deakin University and Monash University’s Gender, Peace and Security Centre to facilitate a two-day Research Dialogue conducted during the Global Counter-terrorism Forum (GCTF) Countering Violent Extremism Working Group Plenary and Workshop on Gender and P/CVE: the role of civil society organisations.

Online Publications:

A Gender Sensitive Approach to Preventing Violent Extremism in Asia and the Pacific (2017-2018)

Primary Chief Investigator: Jacqui True

Chief Investigators: Kerry O'BrienEleanor Gordon

Partner Investigators: Sri Eddyono (Gadjah Mada University) & Oxfam Bangladesh

Funding Partner: UN Women


An innovative research project that draws from UN Women existing programming and utilises participatory and community action research methods to explore the area of gender and preventing violent extremism in Indonesia and Bangladesh as well as examining some of the broader regional trends. The research will seek to provide a broader evidence base on the gendered dimensions of preventing and countering violence extremism through the creation of a research report and specific knowledge products, and also inform the future programming of UN Women and other stakeholders.

The research will look at varying dimensions of gender and preventing violent extremism as well as provide an in-depth analysis of the dimensions of intersectionality, such as age, religiosity and socio-economic status, and examine any potential or inferred association with rates of VAW or GBV and higher indexes of gender inequality. A comparative approach will be used – comparing the different contexts in terms of their community processes, gender dynamics and outcomes so we can isolate the gendered differences in the nature of support and participation and the proximate push and pull factors as well as the factors that are most associated with lessening the influence of fundamentalist ideologies and countering their spread.

Online Publications:

Academic Paper: Building An Evidence Base

Research Brief: Empowering Women for Peaceful Communities

Preventing Conflict and Countering Violent Extremism through Women’s Empowerment and Civil Society Mobilisation in Indonesia (2016-2017)

Investigators: Jacqui True, Swati Parashar & Sri Eddyono

Research team:  Dini Anitasari (researcher), Enik Maslaha (research assistant, Yogyakarta site only), Salma Masri (research assistant, Poso site only) and Yurra Maurice (research assistant, Jakarta site only).

Funding Partner: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)


This research project examines women’s perspectives as family members, as teachers, and as members of civil society and community organisations in three community sites in Indonesia that have experiences with fundamentalist ideologies and political violence.

Online Publications:

Final Report: PVE: Gender Perspectives & Women's Roles

Policy Brief: PVE: Gender Perspectives & Women's Roles, J. True & S. Eddyono, 2017

Guidance Note: Building Government-CSO Partnerships