The Foreign Service Institute’s Gender and Development Technical Working Group engaged in a substantive dialogue with graduate students of Women, Gender and Politics (Polsc 264) from the University of the Philippines- Diliman on 4 December 2014.
The informal three-hour exchange entitled “Strategic Conversations on Gender and International Relations (IR)” covered various issues, concerns and real-life personal experiences relating to the contentious issue of Gender. The initiative was a response to the backseat status of Gender in traditional IR and an attempt to elevate Gender as a discourse and a level of analysis in both traditional and non-traditional IR. The dialogue is part of the Institute’s commitment to mainstream gender in its substantive output. The participants’ active engagement resulted in a dynamic synergy of ideas that will be useful for future activities.
The students, who are currently taking their Master’s degrees in various disciplines (Women and Development, Asian Studies, International Studies and Political Science), opened the discussion with a theoretical approach. Basic gender concepts were used as starting points which later evolved into an in-depth dialogue on gender issues as they manifest in real world problems, media, the academe, the military, the economy and the state.
FSI’s GAD Technical Working Group, in turn, opened the floor for an exchange on Gender and the three pillars of Philippine Foreign Policy bringing with them their respective mandates in Foreign Service training and research in International Relations. They also highlighted the importance of exercising their mandates in shaping a more holistic Philippine foreign policy.
Both groups agreed that progressive steps are being taken to inculcate Gender on the policy level. However, there is yet a lot to be done for gender discourse to tread a more pragmatic path.
Dr. Jean Encinas-Franco, Women, Gender and Politics class professor, closed the short forum with inspiring words for the group. She noted the crucial role young people play in the fulfillment of gender-related goals not only in their specific fields in the academe, training or research but also in their everyday lives.
Political Science 264: Women, Gender and Politics is a seasonal elective course offered by the Department of Political Science at the University of the Philippines – Diliman.