Women* in the focus of prevention work

Needs analysis for a secondary prevention project for girls* and young women* in the context of combating Islamic-based extremism and group-hatred in Berlin

In academia, gender-specific aspects in the areas of Islamic-based extremism and group-based misanthropy have so far been considered only sporadically or peripherally. In practice, too, there are hardly any gender-sensitive (secondary prevention) services that are geared to the needs and interests of girls* and women*. This points to a gap in care that can have individual and societal consequences. Observations from the field also show that anti-democratic and anti-human groups specifically use this gap to offer girls* and women* their own narratives.

Gender-sensitive secondary prevention for girls* and young women*

Therefore, a further needs analysis was necessary, which takes girls* and young women* into consideration as a group with its own problems and clarifies, on the basis of an analysis in the overarching professional exchange, to what extent there is a need for secondary prevention offers in the field that explicitly reach girls*. In 2021/2022, cultures interactive e.V. therefore focused on the realities of girls' and women's lives in a separate project in order to determine the relevance of gender-reflective prevention work and the need for action, as well as to formulate approaches for a needs-oriented and secondary prevention project.

Identification and analysis of needs

In various projects and scientific contributions, cultures interactive e.V. has developed a gender-sensitive approach to prevention that takes girls* and young women* seriously as relevant actors* and deals intensively with girls*-specific reasons for radicalization. As part of the needs analysis, qualitative and quantitative interviews as well as expert discussions with multipliers in the field of girls' work and women's counseling, with employees from the prevention of Islamic-based extremism as well as with girls* and young women* were conducted from August 2021 to June 2022. The aim was to take a look at the reality of girls' and young women's lives and to formulate approaches for a needs-oriented secondary prevention project. The narrative interviews and quantitative surveys were supplemented by further research on scientific discourses and secondary prevention projects in the field of religiously based extremism. The findings thus obtained were then presented for discussion in an expert exchange.

Existing prevention services are not enough

The analysis clearly showed that there is still a need for secondary prevention services for young women* and girls* and that the existing prevention services are not sufficient to meet the needs and underlying needs, especially among girls* at risk. It became clear that gender-specific approaches are necessary in order to reach young women* in a targeted manner. This is because girls* and young women* exhibit strong gender-specific factors in both the motives for turning to and the motives for turning away. The needs analysis also revealed that the functions and perspectives of girls* and women* within structures of religiously based extremism should receive greater attention in research and prevention work.
It was extremely important to the girls* and young women* interviewed not to be condemned for their religion, but to be recognized and to have their views valued. It therefore makes sense in prevention work if young people can deal with religion and religiously based extremism without being stigmatized, and if their skills in dealing with these issues are strengthened. The professionals surveyed also indicated a need for further training on Islamic-based extremism, on the one hand in order to have more knowledge and on the other hand to increase their own confidence in taking action.


January 2021 until December 2022