Gender Mainstreaming and Returnees

Since the fall of so-called Islamic State or Daesh, a number of British nationals have been repatriated following detention in Syria, Iraq and Turkey.

Could a gendered approach aid in the de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of these individuals? Researchers at the University of Birmingham have worked extensively with UN Women, UNDP, NATO and the EU radicalisation awareness network over the past four years on matters relating to gender and preventing violent extremism.

This work has resulted in a RAND paper on gender-specific issues relating to de-radicalisation and disengagement from violent extremism. It has also resulted in the UNWomen publication on ‘Gender Mainstreaming principles, dimensions and priorities’. We want to continue this work with consideration for women and children returning from the Iraq and Syrian conflict zone. 

Project summary

This project focuses on the rehabilitation, de-radicalisation, re-integration of British nationals who are being repatriated following detention in Syria, Iraq and Turkey on suspicion of being affiliated to, supporting or actively engaging in violent jihadist proscribed terrorist organisation. It aims to examine how to apply existing principles of gender-mainstreaming to post-engagement interventions, known as transnational EXIT work. The project is funded by Research England

Call for policy experts and practitioners

We invite individuals and organisations that are involved in EXIT work (de-radicalisation efforts and programmes), cognate services (probation, social services and government), research and policy (academia, civil society or in another capacity) to participate in this research. 

As a participant, we will request a Skype interview with you of approximately an hour to discuss your experiences in this policy area. We will also invite you to participate in an online workshop on 31 March 2020

This research will be conducted according to the Chatham House Rule, and findings will be anonymised unless you expressly request otherwise. Ultimately, the outputs of this research aims to impact and inform policy decisions in this policy area.


Publications and media work

  • Gender-specific approaches in EXIT work (RAND Europe paper): 
  • Women and Radicalisation
  • K E Brown (2018) Gendered Violence in the making of the proto-state Islamic State. Book Chapter in Parashar, S. (ed) Gendered States. OUP. Chapter 11.
  • K E Brown  (2016) “Securitization of Human Rights” in Steans, J. and Tepe-Belfrage, D (eds.), Handbook on Gender and World Politics (Edward-Elgar). Chapter 30. Pp.255-262.
  • K E Brown (2015) “Marginality as a Feminist Research Method in Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism” In Critical Methods in Terrorism Studies. Dixit, P and Stump, J. L. (Eds.). (Routledge). pp.136-149
  • K E Brown  (2014) “Gender and Religion” Chapter 25, in Laura Shepherd (ed.) Gender and Global Politics Second Edition (Routledge)

In the media

Dr Katherine Brown:

  • Countering violent extremism and gender mainstreaming
  • Radicalisation, Gender and Religion
  • Muslim women's involvement in violent religious politics (e.g. jihadism)
  • How counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation programmes impact on religious women’s rights and Muslim communities
  • Gender and religion-sensitive approaches to resilience

Nubla Mohamed

  • Islamic Studies and Sufism
  • Intra-religious interpretative diversity
  • Islamic narratives of tolerance and non-violence
  • Islamist violent extremism in SE Asia
  • Countering violent extremism in the online space