Violence is least important quality of being a man in conflict-affected communities in Southeast Asia


New York, October 30, 2023—Despite living in conflict-affected communities across Indonesia and the Philippines, men consider being capable of violence the least important quality for being a man, according to a new report published by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security with support from the Sasakawa Peace Foundation. The collaborative study was conducted with local research partners and is part of a series of reports exploring attitudes towards masculinities, violence, and peace in the region.

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan Yoko Kamikawa and US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas Greenfield helped to launch the report, titled “Beyond Engaging Men: Masculinity, (Non)Violence, and Peacebuilding,” at United Nations headquarters this afternoon. 

“Women’s empowerment alone will not lead us to systemic transformation on the ground,” said Maho Nakayama, Director and Senior Program Officer at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation at the launch event. “We need to understand the perceptions of male stakeholders and gain their trust and make them understand women’s empowerment.”

Through a survey of over 6,000 men and women in Aceh and Maluku in Indonesia and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in the Philippines, the report finds that men value being protective, family-oriented, strong but nonviolent, religious, and economic providers. Male respondents also expressed a desire for different expectations of masculinity. 

The survey also finds that both men and women identify men as leaders and women as passive beneficiaries of peacebuilding efforts and see positions of power—across society—as meant for men. 

“Bringing in men and masculinities avoids burdening women with the sole obligation of achieving gender equality,”  said lead report author Dr. Robert U Nagel. “We need to mobilize men to create more gender-equal processes and institutions that will benefit everyone.” 

The study offers insights into future programming in the region, such as identifying how efforts to advance women’s economic empowerment might be particularly susceptible to backlash from men because they value the role of economic provider– and consequently may require additional safeguards.

“We cannot rely on women alone to advance gender equality and peace,” said Ambassador Melanne Verveer, executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. “This study explores how efforts to improve the status of women are strengthened by engaging with men and masculinities.”



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Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security seeks to promote a more stable, peaceful, and just world by focusing on the important role women play in preventing conflict and building peace, growing economies, and addressing global threats like climate change and violent extremism. We engage in rigorous research, host global convenings, advance strategic partnerships, and nurture the next generation of leaders. Housed within the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, the Institute is headed by the former U.S. Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer.