The ‘ASEAN Way’ of Women, Peace and Security: Norm Rhetoric or Implementation?

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Women, peace and security (WPS) is a global normative agenda that seeks to address the vulnerability and victimization of women in armed conflict situation and recognize their agency to transform post-conflict societies. In over two decades, various international institutions, states, and transnational and domestic civil society groups have taken on various initiatives to advance WPS through international policy frames, regional commitments, and national operationalization.

In Southeast Asia, even though women’s human rights have gained traction in the region through cross-cutting issues on gender equality and violence against women, not much has been said in the context of these in armed conflict and peacebuilding situations. In fact, to date, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was the latest regional body to have adopted a framework for action on WPS. This study uses the norm life cycle model to explain the emergence and cascade of WPS in the ASEAN and explains the challenges to the internalization of the norm in the region.