Women and Preventing Violent Extremism: The U.S. and U.K. Experiences

Drawing on the U.K.’s record on the Prevent strategy, the briefing paper on Women and Violent Extremism: The U.S. and U.K. Experiences uses a gender and human rights lens to analyze the U.S.’ new policy of using a community-based approach to build resilience against violent extremism. The briefing paper finds that by largely adopting a now-rejected version of Prevent, the U.S. plan risks co-opting non-security sectors, such as education and health, to the detriment of immigrant women.

By following a Prevent strategy that securitized engagement with Muslim communities and integration, the U.S. plan also chances increased stigma against these communities—including particularly Muslim women—and chills the very community partnerships the new strategy centers. As the U.S. implements its first-ever domestic strategy on ideologically-inspired violent extremism, this briefing paper also identifies the privacy and free speech consequences of failing to define how radicalization relates to violence, as well as using community engagement as a pretext for surveillance.