Exploring the links between gender-based violence and radicalisation in Jordan

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ACTED and its local partner AWO, launched a national workshop on Saturday 10 December 2016 in the Jordanian capital Amman to present the results of a study analysing the linkages between gender-based violence and radicalisation in Jordan. The event marked the end of the “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence” and International Human Rights Day (December 11), aiming to galvanise support to tackle violence against women as well as promote equal access to rights around the world.

The national workshop provided a forum for 80 female participants from academic and research institutions, civil society organisations and communities across Jordan to discuss and exchange on the results of the study, as well as on growing concerns of radicalisation in the country and their link with women. This study was part of a regional project funded by the EU and aimed at reflecting the perceptions of women and community leaders on gender-based violence (GBV) and radicalisation, through interviews conducted in 2015 and 2016. During the first session, two Jordanian research institutes, the Centre for Women Studies at the University of Jordan (CWS) and the Information and Research Centre of the King Hussein Foundation (IRCKHF), which conducted the research commissioned by ACTED and AWO, presented the main findings of the study and discussed possible recommendations with participants. Two of the main outcomes were the increase and expansion of radical thinking in the country as well as the strong link between gender-based violence and radicalisation, evidenced through the analysis of data. In the face of these challenges, participants highlighted the urgent need to build women leadership, treat and consider women as not only mothers or daughters, but also as educators, activists, professional practitioners, leaders and agents of peacebuilding. Participants also highlighted the need to increase and develop resources, tools, practices and initiatives aimed at preventing radicalisation in Jordan.

During the second session, participants agreed that that strategies and actions launched by authorities, civil society organisations and communities to tackle violent extremism had to be better coordinated and lay ground for mutual dialogue and interaction. As highlighted during the discussion panel by the lead of the Jordanian National Commission for Women, the strengthening of women’s social and economic capacities was perceived as an essential step towards preventing radicalisation in the country, and an increasing number of programs intended to address these needs. The EU Program Manager for Education and Youth quoted: “Empowering women in various fields of expertise is a key component of EU programs, and this study presented today provides new insights in this particular field”.

This event was launched within the framework of an EU-funded project entitled “Strengthening youth and women’s leadership in local and national decision-making processes in 3 MENA countries”. Women leaders identified through the project activities will participate to AWO’s advocacy campaign aimed at supporting the Jordanian National Action Plan for the implementation of UN Resolution 1325, which promotes the role of women in strengthening social cohesion, community resilience and peacebuilding. This 2-year project, implemented in Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, also builds youth capacities to access the labour market, fosters youth and women economic empowerment, as well as commits to engage youth and women leaders to take an active role in decision making at local and national level, in responding to key social issues such as unemployment (Jordan, West Bank and Gaza) or solid waste management (Lebanon).