Women's Agency: Promoting, Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in Tanzania and Kenya
Keywords:violent extremism, women, agency, preventing and countering violent extremism
Until recently, the participation of women in violent extremism (VE) on the one hand, and the engagement of women in efforts to prevent and/or counter violent extremism (PCVE), on the other, have largely been under-theorised. This article examines the agentic dimensions of women’s VE practices and a mechanism for preventing and countering VE in Kenya and Tanzania. It is argued that women, as actors who have agency, play multiple roles in VE and PCVE. Drawing on empirical data from Tanzania and Kenya, the article illuminates how women, as agents in their own right, can be mobilised or can actively mobilise themselves and their community to promote VE and/or PCVE practices both proactively and reactively. Contrary to essentialist and reductionist views, which bracket the nuances of women’s lived experiences with VE, this article lays bare women’s multiple roles in VE, the motives behind taking on such roles and the contexts that shape women’s social dispositions in relation to VE and PCVE.