Misogyny

Misogyny is not only a tool of extremist ideologies, it is a form of extremism itself

ISD’s work on hate, extremism and disinformation consistently seeks to put the agency and victimisation of women in focus.

Our early work on extremism produced ground-breaking research in the participation of women in extremist movements, such as Islamic State, through our Women and Extremism programme. Our counter-extremism work has since documented the particular way misogyny is used as a tool to further extremist ideologies. This extends to a wide range of harms against women, including domestic violence.

In Kenya, we helped civil society organisations produce anti-misogyny messaging during the 2017 elections, as local partners identified violence against women as a serious problem during political campaigns. These messaging efforts, which reached 4.6 million Facebook users in the country, are highlighted in the ISD report, Between Two Extremes.

Through initiatives supported by Google.org and others, such as the £1m Google Innovation Fund (2018) and the €10m Google Impact Challenge on Safety (2019), we have funded projects that have addressed misogynistic attitudes in the UK and Europe. One of them, a project by the Tees Valley Inclusion Network, helped increase resilience for BME women and girls who have experienced illegal cultural harms and domestic violence, developing new approaches to tackle the challenges that face survivors via a digital safe space, offering training and improving confidence to report hate crimes and receive support.

In 2019, ISD published Mapping Hate in France: A Panoramic View of Online Discourse, a data-driven overview of a variety of forms of hateful speech online in France that identified just under 7 million instances of online hateful speech against women; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) communities; people with disabilities; and French Arab communities. This included approximately 5.4 million instances of misogynistic hateful speech.

In 2020, during the US election campaigns, we provided cutting edge research about online misogynistic trends being used by political actors and disinformation agents, including the abuse of female candidates for public office. The findings were documented in the ISD report, Public Figures, Public Rage: Candidate abuse on social media. The report highlighted a marked difference in the nature of the abuse directed towards female and male candidates: while men mostly received generalised attacks (about their political stances), abuse directed at women tended to be gendered and highly personal.

Finally, ISD is conducting digital research into the “manosphere”, an umbrella term referring to interconnected misogynistic communities online. Our research looks at broader male supremacist discourse, men’s rights activism (MRA) and “involuntary celibates” (incels), analysing the terminology and narratives perpetuated by these communities and the scope and scale of related content online. This research is available upon request.

Ilhan Omar

Documented abuse of female candidates
tracked by ISD in “Public Figures, Public Rage”

Yasmin Khan

Tees Valley Inclusion Project
supported by ISD’s Innovation Fund, 2018

Kenya campaign

Still from campaign against gender violence
Mombasa, Kenya, 2017

Latest publications on gender and extremism


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ISD’s Gender team

Jacob Davey
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Jacob Davey

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

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Jacob Davey
Jacob Davey

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

Jacob Davey is the Director 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.
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.
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, specialising in malign influence operations targeting elections, public health and climate disinformation, far-right extremism and conspiracy theories. Her research includes social media network mapping, data analysis and ethnographic monitoring of closed online spaces. Her writing and commentary has been featured by the BBC, The Guardian, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Wired, among others. She previously worked in publishing and journalism, and holds an MSc in International History from the London School of Economics.