The Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda was formally introduced on October 31, 2000, with the unanimous adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. The historic resolution recognizes women’s specific experiences of conflict, as well as the necessity of involving women in the process of building sustainable peace.
While the WPS Agenda rightfully centers on women, women’s empowerment cannot be realized without buy-in from men and without engaging the men, masculinities, and gendered orders that underpin patriarchal systems. In other words, if engaging women is necessary for building sustainable peace, then meaningfully contending with the role of men and masculinities in peace, conflict, and gender inequality is also a necessary precondition for achieving sustainable peace.
The aim of this project is to explore how understanding and engaging with men and masculinities could bolster the WPS Agenda.
In partnership with the Sasakawa Peace Foundation, InteGRAL, Mindanao State University, and the International Centre for Aceh and Indian Ocean Studies, this project will explore these issues in three conflict-afflicted contexts in Southeast Asia: Mindanao in the Philippines and Aceh and Ambon in Indonesia. Through surveys, focus groups, and interviews, it will seek to gain a broad understanding of regional sentiments regarding masculinity, violence, conflict, and peacebuilding. Its findings will inform new approaches for engaging men as allies for sustainable peace.
When integrating a masculinity lens into peacebuilding and WPS work, we will account for concerns raised by feminist groups over competition for funding and for criticisms that attention to men’s needs without challenging existing power relations might reinforce patriarchal systems. Therefore, we hope to highlight how both men and women are harmed by violent masculinities and help interventions engage men as allies in the transformation of patriarchal systems.
With the intent of contributing to these evidence-based interventions, the objectives of this project include:
- Contributing to policy and academic discussions on masculinities and sustainable peace, by presenting research findings on masculinities and gender norms that lead to violence and exploring how these intersect with peacebuilding processes.
- Exploring the correlation between ideas of masculinity and violence, men’s participation in peacebuilding, and the well-being of women.
- Analyzing past initiatives targeting men to address factors leading to the perpetration of violence, to build nonviolent models of masculinities, or to engage men in gender equality work, with the goal of elucidating best practices for transforming harmful masculinities and engaging men in addressing gender inequality and conflict.
- Contributing to efforts that incorporate attention to masculinities in peacebuilding interventions through guidelines and recommendations, in addition to suggesting meaningful ways to engage men as allies in the achievement of the WPS Agenda.
We are pleased to share takeaways from a recent roundtable discussion on the topic of Women, Peace and Security (WPS), masculinities, and peacebuilding. This research project is ongoing; we look forward to sharing a full report with our findings in the future.