Women have historically been excluded in formal peace processes. While structural changes have pushed for women’s participation in peace negotiations, we locate the shift from women’s exclusion to women’s inclusion as enacted in the discursive patterns of talk. Using positioning theory as a discursive lens, we looked at how women’s inclusion was facilitated in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that reached the landmark Philippine peace accord of 2014. Positioning theory argues that every utterance is a speech act that ascribes rights and duties, in this case, the right of women to be included in peace negotiations. Each act of positioning is comprised of storylines, identities, rights and duties, and social forces. From interviews with members of the GPH-MILF peace panels, we identified three patterns of positioning: (1) storylines of cultural and religious restrictions resisting women’s inclusion, (2) storylines of gender equality, compliance with important statutes, and political will facilitating women’s inclusion, and (3) storylines of women’s inclusion transforming women’s identities in peace negotiations from normative to agentic. Results are discussed in terms of the theoretical and practical contributions of a discursive approach to women’s inclusion in peace processes.

Author Bio(s)

Josephine P. Perez is an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Psychology, Ateneo de Manila University. She is a Research Fellow at the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute. She has a doctoral degree in Leadership Studies-Organization Development, a master’s degree in Social Psychology, and a bachelor’s degree in A.B. Psychology. Her research interests include gender, peace and security, conflict resolution and peace psychology. She is a peace and women’s rights advocate.

Mira Alexis P. Ofreneo is Associate Professor at the Department of Psychology, Ateneo de Manila University. She is a social and counselling psychologist. Her research and practice are anchored on feminist psychology and the use of critical discursive approaches. Her current work as head of the Ateneo de Manila University Gender Hub is to respond to sexual and gender-based violence and discrimination against the LGBTIQ+ community.


women in peace processes, positioning theory, women’s inclusion, peace negotiations, discursive approach, gender and peace negotiations, women, peace and security





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