Catherine Stinton


Activists and leaders in the far-right in the UK and Europe are often assumed to be working class white men (Cockburn, 2007). While this is reasonably accurate of the majority, the assumption has led to poor understanding of the active minority of women involved in the leadership and support of these movements. They have been similarly overlooked in research of the radicalisation process, which has primarily focused upon the Islamist radicalisation of men (Kundnani, 2015). In this article, literature relevant to the far-right radicalisation of white women is reviewed, beginning with establishing a base of pertinent research into multiple forms of radicalisation. On this basis, literature on potential radicalising pressures experienced by white British women is evaluated, with results reported on a micro, meso, and macro scale. Findings suggest these women are not necessarily misled by the men in their lives, ignorant, or pathological (Blee, 2003). They are individuals with their own agency, with something to lose, influenced and radicalised by pressures placed upon them by their lives, communities, and the world at large. The government’s Prevent strategy identifies white supremacy as the ideology of the far-right, an ideology which still suffuses the postcolonial Western world (Home Office, 2015). Despite its social hierarchy that imagines men as the pinnacle of civilisation, white women are not beyond its influence, as both victims of its patriarchy and enactors of its racialized oppression (hooks, 2015). These are pressures which affect the radicalisation of women in the far-right; they are as susceptible as men to anxieties stemming from the fading of the Empire and the legacy of colonialism.