#WomenandCVE becomes a trending topic on Twitter

By Jillian Slutzker

May 13, 2016

Women must play a critical and larger role in reducing the conditions that cause radicalism and violent extremism in their communities, according to three experts participating in a live “tweetchat” May 9.

Using the hashtag #WomenandCVE and reaching more than 54,000 Twitter accounts,  the experts offered insights on effective strategies to engage women in preventing violent extremism in the first-ever tweetchat moderated by @CVECommunity.

“This is much more than a niche topic with a limited following,” says Paul Turner, Senior Conflict Advisor at Creative Associates International, who participated in the live tweetchat. “The audience’s interest pushed #WomenandCVE to be a trending topic.”

Panelists included Rekha Mehra, Senior Associate for Gender at Creative Associates International, Allison Peters, Senior Policy Adviser at The Institute for Inclusive Security, and Sara Zeiger, Senior Research Analyst at Hedayah.

The panelists fielded a range of tough questions from the roles of mothers and fathers in preventing violent extremism to women’s motivations to join extremist groups and funding shortfalls in bringing women to the table to design solutions.

As key influencers in their families, as well as in leadership positions from civil society organizations to law enforcement, women can be key players in preventing radicalization, said panelists. Practitioners need to elevate their leadership roles with increased opportunities and support, they tweeted.

Joined in the tweetchat by peacebuilding leaders including Search for Common Ground, Vasa Strategies and OSCE’s UnitedCVE campaign, panelists also addressed the myriad of motivations that lead women to join extremists groups and the nuanced roles they may play, as both preventers and perpetrators. Recognizing these varying roles and push and pull factors is key for effective CVE, they tweeted.

For credibility and efficacy in programming, panelists and other tweetchat participants emphasized the importance of locally owned and culturally relevant interventions that work with local religious leaders and leverage women’s influence in culturally accepted roles.

They also addressed strategies for engaging donors in this work and underscored the need to counter media portrayals of women as victims and instead convey the many stories of women as active leaders in preventing violent extremism.

To view the full #WomenandCVE tweetchat, visit the #WomenandCVE Storify recap here.

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