women's rights and civil society in the Philippines
Political Conflict

Advancing Women's Rights in Davao City, Philippines: The Role of Local Civil Society

Author(s): Kelsey Coolidge
Date: June 6, 2017
Publication Type: Discussion Paper
Research Topics: Political Conflict

Overview:

Civil society actors play an influential role in supporting human rights. While the literature on this topic tends to focus on human rights activity at the national level, civil society organizations (CSOs) also operate at the local level to advance human rights. The advancement of women’s rights is a particularly good example of this. In Davao City, Philippines, local women’s organizations campaigned for the passage of the Davao City Women and Development Code, a progressive piece of legislation that implemented the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Remarkably, this piece of legislation passed 13 years before a similar piece of legislation passed at the national-level. Based on this case, this paper suggests that local activity on human rights takes place under a set of social and political factors: an empowered civil society, a center-periphery divide that generates distrust between local and national level actors, and a strengthened capacity of local government in Davao City.

Key Findings:

  • International law can be implemented on the local level without supporting legislation on the national level. This is significant because it suggests that there can be multiple pathways for the implementation of international law that do not rely on national level performance.
  • Local civil society organizations (CSOs) were able to pass the Women and Development Code in Davao City by deploying strategies aimed at generating public support, producing relevant supporting research, and working directly with local government officials.
  • The Women and Development Code succeeded in implementing CEDAW at the city-level, instituting a special, city government department to oversee its implementation, and codified a number of social, political, economic, and other rights for women. As a direct result of the Code, Davao City offers a number of social services and programs aimed directly an improving the status of women in the city.

Related Publications

Recent Trends in Civil War Dynamics

Reassessing Rebellion

Written by Jay Benson, Eric Keels, Joshua Lambert on March 15, 2019

Though historically the number of armed conflicts has been declining, there has been a recent surge in ongoing civil wars. Intrastate armed conflicts therefore represent a persistent and dangerous threat to global stability.

Read more
A Story of Peace and Reconciliation in Colombia

Peace is Ours: A Story of Peace and Reconciliation in Colombia

Written by Alexandra Amling, Timothy Schommer, Illustrator: Chloé Dolic on March 6, 2019

Peace is Ours is the story of a young couple, Ximena and Jair, who attempt to build their lives in the shadow of the Colombian peace process in 2016.

Read more
gender and reintegration in colombia

The Missing Peace: Gender Considerations in Colombia's Reintegration Efforts

Written by Alexandra Amling on March 5, 2019

Gender perspectives are understood as the differences in needs and challenges of men, women, boys, and girls which are based on the social construction of gender roles and norms.

Read more
exploring the puzzle rebel terrorism

Exploring the Puzzle of Rebel Terrorism

Written by Eric Keels on December 11, 2018

The decision by rebel groups to employ terrorism is influenced, in part, by the structure of rebel organizations as well as the strategic environment in which they operate.

Read more
The Collapse of Mozambique’s 2013 Peace Agreement and Why it Matters

The Collapse of Mozambique’s 2013 Peace Agreement and Why it Matters

Written by , on July 19, 2018

This discussion paper analyzes the structural and causal factors that led to the collapse of Mozambique’s landmark 1992 General Peace Agreement in October 2013 and why they matter for the country’s future stability.

Read more

The Geography of Violence Against Civilians: Implications for Peace Enforcement

Written by Jay Benson on February 21, 2018

UN peacekeeping operations have evolved in recent years to include more robust missions that pursue peace enforcement in a way not previously seen.

Read more
cover of geography of violence against civilians

Policy Brief: Peace Enforcement and the Geography of Violence Against Civilians

Written by Jay Benson on February 21, 2018

Peace enforcement has become the subject of vigorous debate among both policy makers and academics working in the field of peace operations.

Read more
Threat of World War

THE ENDURING THREAT OF A LARGE INTERSTATE WAR

Written by Aaron Clauset on September 20, 2017

Since 1945, there have been relatively few large interstate wars, especially compared to the preceding 30 years. The implications of this pattern, sometimes called “the Long Peace,” remain highly controversial. Is this an enduring trend toward peace

Read more

Pages