This paper examines the appeal of Islamic State (IS) to Western women and explores how women can be employed in countering violent extremism (CVE) structures to prevent further involvement. It aims to deliver a comprehensive analysis for academics, policymakers and practitioners working in CVE program and policy design and implementation in order to bridge the gap between community development work and security and intelligence.
Two case studies of Australian women—Zehra Duman (a.k.a. Umm Abdullatif al-Australi) and Zaynab Sharrouf (a.k.a. Umm Hafs)—illustrate the appeal as well as the contradictions.
A series of recommendations suggests changes to existing CVE structures and their approaches to integrating, women.