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Beyond Material Interventions: Rethinking the Role of Gender, Media, and the Politics of Female Violent Extremism in Kenya

Beyond Material Interventions: Rethinking the Role of Gender, Media, and the Politics of Female Violent Extremism in Kenya
Beyond Material Interventions: Rethinking the Role of Gender, Media, and the Politics of Female Violent Extremism in Kenya

The traditional narrative of terrorism is male-dominated. However, while it is true most terrorists are men, it has become clear that women are increasingly playing a role in supplying, assisting, and fighting for extremist groups such as Boko Haram and al-Shabaab. In Kenya, women have helped carry out several terrorist attacks, but the roles they play in extremist groups are poorly understood by governments and sensationalized in media. How has terrorism manifested in Kenya and how is the role women play in extremist groups evolving? What can the Kenyan government do to better understand and forestall it? How has the Kenyan media covered the role of women in extremist groups, and what can it do to avoid sensationalizing the issue and creating fear?

In this paired paper and policy brief, Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding Scholar Fredrick Ogenga examines the scope of female violent extremism in Kenya, its drivers, and how governments and media organizations can counter it.

Please see the policy brief and the full 8-page research paper linked below.

This publication was made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The statements made and views expressed in this paper are solely the responsibility of the author and do not represent the views of the Wilson Center or the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

About the Author

Fredrick Ogenga

Fredrick Ogenga

Southern Voices Network for Peacebuilding Scholar,
Professor of Communications, Rongo University and Founding Director, Center for Media, Democracy, Peace & Security (CMDPS)
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Africa Program

The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.–Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, including our blog Africa Up Close, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations.    Read more