“10-13 percent of foreign citizens who joined ISIL between 2013 and 2018 are women.”

“The question is why were these young women travelling?”

“No one is finding a better society when they come back.”

“What can replace what these radicalized women had when they were part of an extremist group?”

The joint United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) publication, Invisible Women: Gendered Dimensions of Return, Reintegration and Rehabilitation, is an effort to map the gaps and challenges pertaining to the reintegration and rehabilitation of women and girls associated with violent extremist movements and establish a preliminary evidence-base of good practices and approaches. The report and its methodology centralize the experiences of local civil society, in particular women-led civil society organizations (CSOs) who contributed to the report through interviews, dialogues, and case study profiles. The research emphasizes the necessity of integrated, multi-stakeholder approaches that enable state and civil society to work in tandem, based on the comparative advantages of each.

Executive Summary and Programming Guidance available in French and Arabic.

Full Report available in Arabic

Sector-Specific Analysis

The Policy Gaps and Challenges

Draws attention to the existing policy frameworks, gaps and challenges related to addressing disarmament, reintegration and rehabilitation of people associated with violent extremist groups, with attention to the gaps related to women and children in particular.

Read Chapter One

Law, Redress and Reconciliation

On legal processes and issues includes discussions on repatriation, prosecution, sentencing, citizenship rights, restorative justice measures, and access to legal aid for returnees.

Read Chapter Two

Security from and for Women and Girl Returnees

Addresses security issues both from and for returnees. It addresses measures needed to mitigate the risk of recidivism while avoiding further marginalization and potential secondary or re-radicalization. It also touches on the protection needs of returnees from retributional violence and SGBV, and the role of state security actors and civil society organizations in this process.

Read Chapter Three

Addressing Public Attitudes of Stigma and Fear

Highlights the importance of public awareness and community sensitization, including the role of the media and local leaders to combat retribution, stigma, fear and mistrust, and enable successful reintegration. It also highlights the risks that individuals face when seeking to raise such sensitive issues.

Read Chapter Four

Transforming Ideology and Restoring Identity

Focuses on the need for ideological transformation through religious or other forms of counselling and mentoring for those who have been convinced of violent extremist narratives, with attention to the needs of women who often have less opportunities for deepening their religious literacy.

Read Chapter Five

Socioeconomic Empowerment and Sense of Purpose

Addresses the importance of providing socioeconomic support (including access to education, relevant livelihoods skills and job training, employer sensitization and job placement) and enabling economic independence not only as a practical necessity but also a path to rehabilitation and resilience against the ideologues of violent extremism.

Read Chapter Six

Coping with Trauma

Draws attention to the need for psychosocial support, such as trauma healing, tools to cope with stigma, and family therapy, for returnees and their families whether they are victims, perpetrators, or both. Given the propensity of sexual violence among women and girls, the need for reproductive health services and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases is noted, as well as the unique dynamics of newly female-headed households.

Read Chapter Seven

Examples of Good Practice

C-SAVE in Indonesia

 Institutionalizing Gendered Rehabilitation through Civil Society-Government Collaboration

Read the Case Example here

AWAPSA in Kenya

Trust Between Community Women and Police as a Resource for Prevention and Reintegration

Read Case Example Here

Allamin Foundation in Nigeria

Combating Stigma and Radicalization through Islamic Peace Education

Read Case Example Here

PAIMAN Trust in Pakistan

From Sewing Suicide Belts to Sowing Sustainable Peace

Read Case Example Here

KIWEPI in Uganda

Healing from Trauma and Reclaiming Dignity through Economic Independence

Read Case Example Here

Rescue Me in Lebanon

Deradicalization through Psychosocial Therapy in Prisons

Read Case Example Here

Neem Foundation in Nigeria

Finding a New Sense of Purpose through Psychosocial Therapy

Read Case Example Here

Preventing Violent Extremism, Protecting Rights and Community Policing

"There is no trade-off between policing and human rights. Policing at its best should be the guardian and amplifier of human rights in society."

Sir Stephen House QPM

From the Ground Up – The Nexus of Economic Policy, Gender and Violent Extremism

"Human Rights provide a very powerful normative lens to evaluate how economic policy works."

Dr. Radhika Balakrishnan

Education, Identity and Rising Extremism

"The most dangerous world views are the views of those who have never viewed the world."

Noufal Abboud

Uncomfortable Truths, Unconventional Wisdoms – WASL Security Brief

"Help us talk. Don't just arm us to kill."

Woman Peacebuilder

Invisible Women: Gendered Dimensions of Return, Rehabilitation and Reintegration from Violent Extremism

“10-13 percent of foreign citizens who joined ISIL between 2013 and 2018 are women.”

+1 202-355-8220



1126 16th Street NW Suite 250, Washington, DC 20036

Share This