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

Authored by: Kelsey Coolidge

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation
Country: Philippines
Region: South and Central Asia
Year: 2017
Citation: Coolidge, Kelsey. Advancing Women's Rights in Davao City, Philippines: The Role of Local Civil Society. One Earth Future, 2017.

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Executive Summary

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.