“Global terrorism and violent extremism remain a transnational peace and security threat.1 United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 and subsequent resolutions on Women, Peace and Security (WPS) recognized the role of women in countering and preventing violent extremism. At the same time, women’s involvement in violent extremist groups poses a grave threat, with serious implications for security and counterterrorism strategies.2 Hard-power approaches to dealing with this challenge remain unsustainable and ineffective. As such, dialogue will need to be more prevalent and the inclusion of women in negotiations more instrumental in achieving the objectives of UNSCR 1325.I argue that deliberate inclusion of women in dialogue processes with extremist groups will be instrumental in countering terrorism and violent extremism effectively. Furthermore, it will bring women from the periphery to central positions in shaping future peace, which adding them as an afterthought cannot achieve. Token inclusion of women has been one of the main barriers to effective implementation of UNSCR 1325.3 Given that the fields of peace, security and counterterrorism remain male dominated, engaging women more in counterterrorism presents numerous opportunities to gain unique gender perspectives on peace and security.4Although inclusive dialogue has long been advanced as a long-term solution to countering terrorism and violent extremism, this essay looks at how women can be deliberately involved in these processes globally. I also make recommendations to the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee’s Executive Directorate (CTED), which is in a unique position to advocate for the acknowledgement, recognition and appreciation of women’s role in dialogue processes with violent extremist groups through engaging UN member states. Successful implementation of these recommendations would lead to successful implementation of critical aspects of the WPS agenda related to violent extremism.”

These words introduce Tabitha W. Mwangi’s essay “UNSCR 1325 and Beyond: Engagement of Women in Dialogue with Terrorist and Violent Extremist Groups”, among the winners of WIIS Global’s essays competition, and available at this link >>