The Women and Extremism Program

About WEP Program

The Women and Extremism Program focuses on women who have become extremists, as well as women who are working to combat extremism.

Research will highlight the unique ways women are affected by extremism, vulnerable to it, and able to contribute to countering and challenging extremist narratives. Analysis will cover both the unique vulnerabilities women face within extremist ideologies and also the agency they demonstrate by choosing to join extremist groups for their own political agendas. Consequently, the program illustrates the gendered experiences of women who become involved in extremist organizations and seeks to examine why/how women are radicalized and their function in violent extremism.

The purpose of this project is to explore the relationship between women and violent extremism with the intent of contributing data that highlights the severity of stereotypical responses in literature regarding how women experience violent extremism and radicalization. By doing so, this research aims to create unbiased and ungendered preventative measures in dealing with female extremists that could perhaps shape or influence terrorism legislation and policy.

While this program has just launched. If you would like additional information or have any queries regards The Women and Extremism Program please email:

WEP Team

Amy Hetherington

Amy Hetherington

Counter-Terrorism Research Intern – Women Extremism Department

Amy is working on her MA thesis in Peace and Conflict in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin. Her course work focuses on religious extremism and political violence in the Middle East and North Africa. Amy’s thesis work examines the correlates for support/sympathy for Islamic terrorism in Muslim majority countries. Amy completed her undergraduate degree at Queen’s University, Canada in Religious Studies and World Languages with an International certificate. At Rise to Peace, Amy is a counter-terrorism research intern within the department for Women Extremism.

Simone Matassa

Simone Matassa

Research Fellow

Simone Matassa is currently studying at the Technological University of Dublin in Ireland where she conducts research on the Western media’s representation of Islamic state terrorism. This research aims to show the significance of sensationalising certain terrorist attacks in the media and the effects of such on the general public and for terrorist organizations. Prior to this, she completed her Undergraduate Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology at The National University of Ireland where she carried out research on religious extremism and the social/psychological motivations of terrorism.

As a Counter-Terrorism Research Fellow with Rise to Peace, Simone will be focusing on women in extremism in order to highlight how women become involved in terrorism and to create a comparison between the processes of radicalization for women versus men. The issues surrounding women in extremism are particularly under-researched and she hopes through her work at Rise to Peace to help shed light on this complex dynamic and create something that could help educate people on the factors that may lead a person to become more susceptible to joining a terrorist organization.