This paper aims to critically re-examine the role of the “ASEAN Way” and regional governance more broadly in promoting feminist peace and security in Southeast Asia. Expansive definition and aspirations embodied by the ASEAN Way are typically traded for a more state-centric version. The term is commonly used as a short-hand for the failures and limitations of regional governance, and rarely for its virtues. Consequently, insufficient attention has been paid to how the ASEAN Way also relates to the agency of regional networks of civil society actors who collectively serve as the permanent background to regional governance in Southeast Asia. Bringing together disparate international relations scholarship on ASEAN regionalism and the WPS agenda, this paper makes a case for the importance of recognizing this other and less examined aspect of ASEAN Way to arrive at a fuller account of both ASEAN regionalism and the gendered root causes of insecurity in Southeast Asia. It concludes with a recommendation to rectify knowledge gaps on the various strategies regional civil society networks employ to advance human rights and wellbeing in ASEAN including those aligned with the WPS agenda, while adapting to the enormous challenge of building and caring for a regional community perpetually beset by multiple crises.
About the author
Dr Maria Tanyag ([email protected]) is a Fellow / Senior Lecturer at the Department of International Relations, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Australian National University. She was awarded her PhD from Monash University in 2018. Maria received first class honours for both her MA (Research) and BA Honours in Political Studies from the University of Auckland, New Zealand; and a BA in Political Science magna cum laude from the University of the Philippines-Diliman. She was selected as one of the inaugural International Studies Association (ISA) Emerging Global South Scholars in 2019, and as resident Women, Peace and Security Fellow at Pacific Forum in 2021.