Women & Extremism

ISD examines the gender component of disinformation, and the role of women within and against extremist movements.

In the last decade, ISD has pioneered new research and initiatives to address the presence of women within violent extremist organisations and develop new ways for women to counter extremism around the world.

Women play an important role in both online and offline radicalisation and recruitment to extremist groups. However, women can also act as early warning systems and influential counter-agents in the fight against these movements. ISD’s work has looked at all dimensions of the gender dynamics of these issues.

Gender-focused research and commentary
ISD has conducted a range of research the addresses issues of extremism, hate and disinformation through a gender lens. This has included everything from research into the gender dynamics of Islamist extremism (Becoming Mulan and Till Martyrdom Do Us Part, Women, Girls and Islamist Extremism) to analysis of the misogynistic aspects of hatred targeting female political candidates (Public Figures, Public Rage).

Our team regularly speak in the media on the role of women in these issues, including on why more women are turning to the far-right (as featured in this Radio 4 documentary with Julia Ebner and a film for The Telegraph, “Rise of the women haters: Inside the dark world of the British ‘incels’“). We also regularly publish on our blog on the gender dimensions of disinformation, such as this Digital Dispatches post, “Online Abuse and Disinformation are Obstacles to Gender Equality in a post-COVID World.”

Women & Extremism Toolkit
The return of women and girls from former ISIS held territories presents new and difficult challenges for governments, communities and frontline practitioners. The importance of disengagement and deradicalisation work with this cohort of women cannot be underestimated. ISD’s Women, Girls and Islamist Extremism Toolkit provides evidence-based guidance for policymakers and practitioners, drawn from the expertise of intervention providers and practitioners in the UK and the Netherlands who have worked with over 250 females who were affiliated with Islamist extremism.

The toolkit is designed to highlight effective practices and processes for intervention provision with women and girls, as well as to lay out existing policy frameworks and practical tools available for those involved in these cases. The toolkit’s insights and recommendations are primarily designed to support individuals directly involved in the provision of tertiary interventions with women and girls, but also to provide guidance for practitioners and broader community stakeholders involved in safeguarding at-risk women and girls in the Netherlands and the UK.

The Women and Extremism Network (WaE)
The Women and Extremism Network (WaE), founded at the inaugural Women and Extremism Summit in Washington, DC, in 2015, brings together policymakers, academics and activists to increase female-led counter-narrative work and seed grassroots counter-extremism networks. This approach allows for greater understanding of how women are radicalised and facilitates an active network of women to better counter this trend.

Women and Extremism summit

The inaugural Women and Extremism Summit
Washington, DC, 2015.

Latest Women and Extremism Publications


Click here for more related ISD Publications

ISD’s Women and Extremism team

Jacob Davey
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Jacob Davey

Head of Research & Policy, Far-right and Hate Movements

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Jacob Davey
Jacob Davey

Head of Research & Policy, Far-right and Hate Movements

Jacob Davey is Head of Research & Policy for Far-right and Hate Movements at ISD. Jacob has managed projects focusing on online hate speech, the international far-right and political violence. He has led a number of projects piloting novel models for identifying extremist conversation and hate speech online, including analysis tracking hate groups in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, and is currently leading a major programme of work mitigating hate threats in the US. He has advised national and local policymakers on right-wing extremism, including the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament. Jacob has managed and co-authored numerous ISD reports including Between Conspiracy and Extremism: A Long COVID Threat?, ISD’s Gaming and Extremism Series, and A Safe Space to Hate: White Supremacist Mobilisation on Telegram.
Jasmine El-Gamal
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Jasmine El-Gamal

Senior Manager, AMEA

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Jasmine El-Gamal
Jasmine El-Gamal

Senior Manager, AMEA

Jasmine is a Senior Manager for Africa, Middle East and Asia (AMEA) at ISD, where she is responsible for overseeing prevention of violent extremism (PVE) research and programming. From 2015-2020, Jasmine was a Senior Fellow with the Middle East program at the Atlantic Council, where she focused primarily on U.S. policies in the Middle East. From 2013-2015, Jasmine served as a Special Assistant to three consecutive Under Secretaries of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon, where she advised on national security issues. From 2008-2013, Jasmine served as a Middle East advisor at the Pentagon, where she served three Secretaries of Defense. During her tenure, she prepared and staffed the Secretary of Defense on foreign trips and during Congressional briefings. She covered issues related to Iraq, Syria, the Arab Spring and ISIS, among others, and served as the Acting Chief of Staff for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy. From 2014-2016, Jasmine served as a translator and cultural advisor to the Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants (OARDEC) in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where she provided briefings on Islam and Arab culture to incoming military officers in advance of their participation on the Review Boards. She conducted over 100 detainee interviews during her time at GTMO regarding their background and journey to Afghanistan and ensured the integrity of their testimony during their review boards, many of which resulted in the illumination of their unjust detention. In 2003, Jasmine served as a translator with a U.S. Civil Affairs team responsible for reconstruction in Southern Iraq, helping to facilitate communication and cooperation between U.S. forces and the local population in rebuilding the area. Her commentary has appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Atlantic, Newsweek, Time Magazine, CNN, Al Jazeera, Al Hurra, L’Orient du Jour, Sawt al Azhar, Al Masry Al Youm and other international outlets.
Charlotte Moeyens
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Charlotte Moeyens

Senior Manager, Networks & Civic Action

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Charlotte Moeyens
Charlotte Moeyens

Senior Manager, Networks & Civic Action

Charlotte Moeyens is a Senior Manager, Networks & Civic Action, at ISD, sitting in the central Resources and Methods team to support with the collation and distribution of counter-extremism best practice, overseeing the development and international delivery of training modules, materials and resources for practitioners and civil society. She has supported the delivery of the Google.org Impact Challenge on Safety in Europe, Africa Online Safety Fund and Mayor of London’s Shared Endeavour Fund. Most recently, she is working with the McCain Institute to develop and build the capacity of a US Prevention and Intervention Practitioners Network. Charlotte also forms part of the Strong Cities Network's (SCN) Central Management Unit, and is co-author of the SCN's Multi-Agency Models for Preventing Violent Extremism: A Guidebook for Bangladesh, as well as ISD reports YouthCAN: The Many States of Activism and Women, Girls and Islamist Extremism.
Lucie Parker
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Lucie Parker

Senior Project Operations Manager

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Lucie Parker
Lucie Parker

Senior Project Operations Manager

Lucie Parker is a Senior Project Operations Manager at ISD, responsible for the project and grant management, operational delivery and fundraising activities for ISD’s portfolio of programmes across Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. She also works on developing policies and practices that implement ISD’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and organisational wellbeing. Lucie has spent her career managing programmes across a range of social justice issues in the UK and international charity and non-profit sectors, with previous roles including Gender Analyst at International Crisis Group and Senior Policy and Research Officer at the Fawcett Society. She is a Founding Trustee of Bread & Roses, a charity that provides holistic support to refugee and asylum seeking women as they rebuild their lives in the UK. She is the co-author of the Young Digital Leaders Impact Report and Digital Resilience: Stronger Citizens Online. Lucie holds an MA with distinction in War Studies from King’s College London and a BA in Politics from the University of York.
Cécile Simmons
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Cécile Simmons

Research Manager

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Cécile Simmons
Cécile Simmons

Research Manager

Cécile Simmons is a Research Manager at ISD, working within the digital research and policy team. She has co-authored reports on far-right terrorism and extremism, hate speech, gender-based violence and disinformation campaigns targeting elections. She works with tech companies, government departments and inter-governmental organisations. Cécile features regularly in international media, including BBC News, The Guardian, Politico, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Le Monde, and Wired. She is the co-author of ISD reports La pandémie de COVID-19: terreau fertile de la haine en ligne, Seconde vague et désinformation: Aperçu des tendances sur les réseaux sociaux, The Interplay Between Australia’s Political Fringes on the Right and Left: Online Messaging on Facebook, Public Figures, Public Rage: Candidate abuse on social media, An Online Environmental Scan of Right-wing Extremism in Canada, Mapping hate in France: A panoramic view of online discourse and Fostering Civic Responses to Online Harms: Learnings from the Online Civil Courage Initiative and the Online Civic Fund.