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

Democracies and coups

Why Democratization Does Not Solve the Coup Problem

Written by Curtis Bell, One Earth Future on March 7, 2016

Since the end of the Cold War, the military coup d’état has become the greatest threat to transitional democracies around the world.

Read more
Democracy and Coup d’État

Coup d’État and Democracy

Written by Curtis Bell on February 19, 2016

This article explains coup activity in democracies by adapting insights from the literature on commitment problems and framing coup around the threats leaders and potential coup plotters pose to each other.

Read more
Research Duetting as a Collective Behavior

Duetting as a Collective Behavior

Written by Daniel Brian Krupp on February 5, 2016

Mated birds of many species vocalize together, producing duets. Duetting behavior occurs at two levels of organization: the individual level and the pair level.

Read more
Coups d'Etat and Civil War

When and Why Coups Occur During Civil War

Written by Curtis Bell on January 15, 2016

Coups d’état are frequently both causes and consequences of larger-scale civil wars and rebellions.

Read more
Empirical Trends in Peace

The Century of Peace? Empirical Trends in Peace and Conflict

Written by One Earth Future on November 2, 2015

Is a world without war possible in the 21st century?Trends in armed conflict and a developing body of social scientific research suggest that this idea is plausible.Based on a discussion of high-level experts held in 2014, this report reviews the

Read more
Causes and Outcomes of Coup during Civil War

The Causes and Outcomes of Coup during Civil War

Written by Curtis Bell, Jun Koga Sudduth on October 1, 2015

Though approximately one in four coup attempts takes place during an ongoing civil war, scholars have not yet analyzed how the incidence of civil war affects coup attempts and outcomes.

Read more
Rebels and Service Provision

Negotiating With Rebels: The Effect of Rebel Service Provision on Conflict Negotiations

Written by Danielle F. Jung, Lindsay Heger on September 29, 2015

When rebels provide social services, do they have more leverage negotiating the terms of a peace deal? The literature suggests service-providing groups may, on average, have a wider base of support and a more centralized organizational structure.

Read more
Strengthening Maritime Security

Non-State Actors in Maritime Security

Written by Conor Seyle, Jens Vestergaard Madsen on July 20, 2015

Non-state actors have a strong counter-piracy role for the maritime sector, potentially greater than the role they play in land-based problems.

Read more

Pages