SC: Arria on counterterrorism and "masculinities"

Statement delivered by Permanent Representative Ambassador Mona Juul in the Security Council "Arria" meeting on preventing terrorism and violent extremism by tackling gender stereotypes, masculinities and structural gender inequality, 28 July 2021.

Thank you to Mexico for organizing an Arria on this important topic, one that deserves our attention. And thank you to the briefers for sharing your insights. Consideration of your views will help us to better address this driver of terrorism and violent extremism.


Taking a gender-transformative approach means not only considering women and girls—but also analysing violence committed by, and against, men and boys. As well as addressing: patriarchal gender norms, harmful stereotypes, and expressions of power and control.

In this respect, let me specify a few areas where we see that particular attention is needed:

First, we must address harmful masculinities that fuel radicalisation to violent extremism. My country sadly knows this all too well. Last week marked the 10-year anniversary of the 2011 terrorist attack in Norway, perpetrated by a
right-wing extremist who was deeply Islamophobic, and desired the restoration of patriarchal gender roles. From these kinds of experiences, it is clear that we must recognize violent masculinities, and fears of emasculation, as drivers of radicalisation.

Second, we must counter extremist organizations’ strategic use of gender stereotypes and harmful masculinities to spur recruitment. This includes the use of hyper-masculine images, trafficking, sexual slavery, and, as Special Rapporteur Ní Aoláin [“Nii-Ai-Lån”] has pointed out: promises of “access to sexual gratification, marriage and guaranteed income” as part of their gendered propaganda to attract recruits.

And third, recognising that both men and women have a diversity of roles in extremist organizations: Men are not exclusively perpetrators. And women are not only victims. Women recruit, radicalise, and enact horrific attacks, yet are often left out of de-radicalisation and DDR processes. While men and boys are also victims of sexual violence by extremist organizations, yet they are often left without adequate psychosocial resources or protection.

Comprehensive gender analysis is needed throughout the design, implementation, and reporting of CT and PVE processes to take these factors into account.


We must build upon the work already undertaken at the UN on these issues. Lessons learned from studies on gender roles and stereotypes—like those lead by UNDP—should be integrated into the UN’s wider approach to PVE and CT. Our CT and PVE approaches must also be specifically gender-transformative. At an absolute minimum, not reproduce gender stereotypes and inequalities.

A truly gender-transformative approach would ensure the full, equal, and meaningful participation of both women and men- with a particular focus on youth - in all CT and PVE strategies.

We look forward to continuing this important discussion.

I thank you.