New book examines women’s roles as mediators and peace advocates
Makati City, October 19, 2012 — Earlier this week, a historic peace Framework Agreement was signed between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The agreement seeks to end the separatist insurgency the rebel group has waged for decades in the Southern Philippines, home of one of the world’s longest-running violent conflicts. In this troubled area, a new book examines the dynamics of gender and armed conflict in the Southern Philippines, primarily the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The Asia Foundation (TAF) today launched a timely and insightful book, “Gender and Conflict in Mindanao,” which examines the complex gender dynamics of conflict by looking at the Philippines as a case study.
Prior to this report, little research has been done on the nature or extent of conflict-related psychological distress in Mindanao, and how it impacts on how women and men function socially, and how it could be addressed effectively. Co-written by Leslie Dwyer, Assistant Professor at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution of the George Mason University, and Rufa Cagoco-Guiam, Director of the Institute of Peace and Development of the Mindanao State University – General Santos City, the book reports on women’s roles as mediators between warring clans, and as peace advocates in the rural communities in Mindanao. The book was launched to the development community, media, national government agencies, and civil society organizations on October 19, 2012 in Makati City.
In August 2010, the Foundation commissioned a study to examine the dynamics of gender and conflict in Mindanao. The study focused on the various transformative processes that take place during and after armed conflict, especially those that have serious implications on the traditional roles of men and women in grassroots communities. A field-based research and a literature review were conducted to identify the challenges and opportunities for women and men in community and national peace building.
In this report, Dwyer and Cagoco-Guiam discussed among other things – the psychosocial impacts of armed conflict on men: its implications on their mobility, and eventually, their educational attainment. The book also discusses the importance of pushing for mobile livelihood that strengthens communities and non-traditional programs both for men in women in areas vulnerable to armed conflict. Lastly, the book illustrates the need to intensify efforts in training and supporting women as mediators of community conflicts.
The study was funded through The Asia Foundation’s annual US Congressional appropriation, and with support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development. In the Philippines, The Asia Foundation’s programs on conflict are funded by AusAID, DFID, USAID, and the World Bank.