Main Image Credit Sundry Photography / Alamy Stock Photo - Participant to the Women's March event holds a sign stating 'Stop Misogyny'
Comparing the current threat of far-right extremism in the UK and Australia, this project examines the role of online channels in amplifying gender ideology and misogyny across transnational networks on three levels:
- misogynistic views and hostile/sexist beliefs held and espoused at the individual level;
- in-group dynamics, with particularly focus on how women and men are positioned within the group itself and their roles
- the general politicised ideologies that frame both the beliefs and roles, offering a “sense of meaning” that shapes participation.
This project also examines the intersection points of how these dynamics manifest in the offline space, with specific concern as to whether there are offline sites that reinforce gender identity and ideology which in turn justify both violence and hostile beliefs.
The research is funded by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST).
Director, Terrorism and Conflict
Terrorism and Conflict
Dr Jessica White
Senior Research Fellow
Terrorism and Conflict
Professor Jacqui True, Monash University
Dr Alexandra Phelan, Monash University
Aims and objectives
This project aimed to advance academic understanding of gender and extremist narratives and how they fuel transnational violent extremism through online/offline communication and networks.
Recent years have seen an increase in the body of research on the social construction of both masculine and feminine gender identities in international politics. The project contributed to remaining gaps in understanding of how gender identity and ideology are connected to extremism and terrorism. The objective was to help policymakers and programme designers involved in countering extremism and terrorism understand how to better account for gendered identity and ideology in countering these threats.
The project sought to identify how and where the transferability of gendered ideologies challenges policy and programming at national levels. This was a timely discussion in the current global environment where increased levels of political polarisation and the pandemic environment have fuelled transnational extremism, especially on the far right. It was therefore important to increase understanding of how to operate both online and offline programming to better counter the transnational sources of extremist threats, which often cross these mediums very effectively.
The research findings have contributed to discussion and policy formation regarding the prevention and the countering of violent extremism, especially the development and reform of existing risk assessment tools using lessons learned from the UK and Australian cases.
This project provided a new body of evidence to support the increasing attention to the impact of misogyny on radicalisation processes and extremist ideologies and modus operandi. It also highlighted links between the misogyny within different far-right narratives across different country contexts, thus supporting the hypothesis that misogyny can aid transmission of far-right extremism.
As this research was funded by CREST, it was able to feed directly into the UK government’s understanding and assessment of terrorist threats, as well as receiving a wide range of global interest across governments, academics, and practitioners as an area in need of wider transnational exploration.