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Radicalization Pathways among Women in U.S. Far-Right Extremist Networks and Implications for Deradicalization 

Sciarone, J. (2024). "Radicalization Pathways among Women in U.S. Far-Right Extremist Networks and Implications for Deradicalization." Journal for Deradicalization. Vol. 38. 81-121

Radicalization of women within far-right extremist networks is a timely issue. Evidence suggests women’s participation in terrorist activity is likely to grow in the next few years, as extremists continue to find new ways to recruit women. Women’s involvement in far-right extremist networks is greater than frequently thought, yet the underlying radicalization pathways are often understudied. At times, radicalization pathways of women are stereotyped; or women are dismissed due to the perceived complexity of understanding their support for extreme misogynistic networks. Exploring these radicalization pathways is important in understanding deradicalization and preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) practices. Existing research often regards radicalized women as anomalies, deviating from traditional gender norms, meaning policy considerations relating to deradicalization are still based on outdated stereotypes. Far-right extremism is one of the most significant domestic threats currently facing the United States. Leveraging the extant literature on gender and radicalization, this paper provides an overview of women’s presence and radicalization pathways within the contemporary American far right. I present case studies of two women, who have participated in contemporary American far-right extremist networks, providing an in-depth content analysis of their personal social media accounts and secondary sources. I find that these women are motivated by, and radicalized through, perceived threats to their status. Such threats need not be real and can be derived from real political and cultural events, or conspiracy theories. I conclude by arguing that this evidence provides avenues for our understanding of deradicalization pathways.

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