Women’s Rights Expert Talks on Gender and Conflict

Dr. Ma. Lourdes Veneracion-Rallonza discusses the international norm on women, peace and security as part of the global agenda
Dr. Ma. Lourdes Veneracion-Rallonza discusses the international norm on women, peace and security as part of the global agenda

Dr. Ma. Lourdes Veneracion-Rallonza of the Ateneo de Manila University’s Political Science Department gave a lecture on “Women, Peace and Security: Rethinking Global, Regional, and National Discourses and Practices” as part of the Mabini Dialogue Series hosted by the Foreign Service Institute on 25 September 2014.

Prof. Rallonza discussed how gender, a social construction, can and does affect conflict-ridden situations.  Asserting that wars and post-conflict reconstruction periods are often “made by men, decided by men, fought by men, and… settled by men,” she emphasized the need to democratically involve women in the peace-building process as they constitute the other half of a population.

Prof. Rallonza also cited instances of international conflicts where gender-blind data helped to mask the use of rape as a distinctive tool of warfare and incidents of sexual violence committed against women as well as men, such as undocumented rapes in World War II.

She also briefly traced the evolution of women’s rights both in the national and international spheres and suggested that a constructive “collaborative politics” on women’s rights has offered an extraordinary opportunity for civil society organizations and the government to engage each other in a more positive manner.

The lecture concluded that gender analysis should be integrated into Philippine foreign policy decision-making in order to mainstream and sensitize gender issues into the consciousness of the country’s foreign service officers and personnel.

The lecture was attended by officers and staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs and, through webinar, the Philippine posts in Hanoi, Osaka, and Wellington.

Officers and staff of the DFA listen to Prof. Veneracion-Rallonza's lecture
Officers and staff of the DFA listen to Prof. Veneracion-Rallonza’s lecture