Indonesian Women Rights – Kinds and Equality
Women are often marginalized by social culture conception in society that tends to be patriarchy. Discrimination treatments are commonly given to women in Indonesia, whether in social life or in professional scope.
Therefore, Indonesian women should be reminded to fight for their rights that have not been fulfilled until today.
What are exactly women’s rights that need to be fought by women in Indonesia? According to Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) that is signed in 1979 in conference that is held by the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Then, there are five basic women’s rights that should be known by women in all over the world, including women in Indonesia. Below are five women’s rights that should be fought by women in Indonesia.
Rights for Women in Indonesia
On the other hand, There are several rights for Indonesian women, Such as:
Get a job that you want is considered as one of the most basic needs that you have in your life. Every woman has the same right to get a chance to work like men. This right includes the same chance from process of selection to get the work, work facilities, work allowance, and even to the right to get same payment like men. Besides that, women have a right to get paid leave period, including when women take maternity leave from their work. Women can’t be fired by employer based on pregnancy ground or marital status.
Healthcare is considered as one of the most essential public services that are provided by government. There are various types of healthcare that you can get these days, including healthcare that is designed specifically for women. Women have right to get chance free from death that are caused by giving birth and this right should be provided by government. Government also has responsibility to guarantee women get proper healthcare, especially healthcare that is related with family planning, pregnancy, labor, and post-labor.
Education is very important. Without proper education, it is impossible for you to get good life. Education is not only for men but also for women as well. Just like one of the points that are fought by R.A. Kartini, every woman has a right to get equal chance to get proper education, from basic level to university. There should be elimination of stereotype thought about men’s role and women’s role in every aspect and level of education, including an equal chance to get scholarship.
Marriage and family is other aspect of life that should become concern for women. Women should remember that they have equal right with men in marriage. In marriage, woman status is equal with man status. Women have right to choose their husband freely without have to get intervention from anyone. There should be no marriage that is held based on force from anyone. A marriage that is held should be done based on agreement from both side of the groom and the bride. In family, women also have equal rights and responsibilities, whether as parent to the children or as spouse.
In public and politic life, every woman has a right to vote and to be voted. After a woman is voted through a democratic process, woman also should get equal chance to participate in formulating government’s policies and their implementation.
Women and Gender Equality
Gender equality might be one of the most popular terms that you find these days. This term is commonly used by social activists, women, and even Indonesian politicians. Women’s awareness of gender equality became increase these days and they keep demand the equal rights with men.
Gender equality is considered as one of basic human’s rights, not only for men but also for women. The rights to live with honor, free from fear, and free to decide choices in life are not only for men but also for women as well. Women have the equal rights with men basically. Unfortunately, until today women are still considered weak and they are also treated only as complement. Moreover, there is a mindset that considers role of women is only limited to work in kitchen, wash clothes, and take care of family and children so that in the end other issues became not important for women.
Figure of woman that has achievements and can balance between family and career became very rare these days. Women are often afraid to have their own career due to the demand of their role as housewife. Several researches came with data that shows women are consistently placed in position that is more disadvantaged compared to men. Below are several main issues and several examples of gender inequality in various aspects of life in Indonesia that need to be solved immediately.
- Marriage Pattern That Disadvantaged for Women
Early age marriage is still a common thing in Indonesia, especially in rural areas. Reports from UN that are issued in 2004 predict that 13% of Indonesian women are married in age of 15 to 19 years old. In Islamic law, men are allowed to have wife more than one.
However, in Regulation of Marriage that is issued in 1974, it is stated that the permission to have more than one wife can be granted if a man can give a proof that his first wife cannot perform her responsibilities as wife. Government employees in Indonesia are also forbidden to practice polygamy. Marriage law in Indonesia considers men as the head of the family and the main income source for family while the households, including taking care of children are commonly done by women.
- Gender Inequality in Job Market
Gender inequality can also be found in job market in Indonesia as well. There is segmentation of gender in workspace, including in job market. Other common problem that appears in job market and work-space due to gender inequality is the practice of employees’ recruitment and promotion that is discriminative based on gender that makes women are concentrated in only small parts of economic sectors. Women tend to get jobs that have lower status than jobs that are given to men. Society’s assumption that states job for women is only additional role and additional income for family also became one of the reasons of low participation from women labors in work-space.
- Physical Abuse
Indonesia has been issued various regulations in order to protect women from physical abuse. However, there are several evidences that show the physical abuse to women is still a common thing in Indonesia. According to survey of Health and Demography that is held in 2003, almost 25% of women who had married agreed to the assumption that husbands are permitted to hit their wives based on one of these reasons: wife has different opinions, wife goes without telling the husband, wife abandoned the children, or wife refused to have sex with husband.
Women trafficking and prostitution are also considered as serious threat for women in Indonesia, especially for women who are poor and have no education. Even though sexual abuse is considered as crime in Indonesia, this type of abuse is considered as common thing that can be found in everyday life. Indonesian Department of Health in 2004 found that 90% of women confessed that they have experienced various forms of sexual abuse in their workplace.
- The Right of Ownership
Civil law in Indonesia states that men and women have equal right of ownership. Women in Indonesia have legal rights for access to property, land, and access to loan and credit from banks. However, sometimes there are still discriminations in some aspects. For example, husband has a right to have his own private tax number while wife should put her tax number in husband’s record.
Then, to increase women’s awareness to this gender equality issue and educated female workers about their rights as female workers, Labor Rights for Women campaign that is dedicated for female workers never stop voiced and educated women. Through events and training of Labor Rights for Women with “Gender Equality” theme, women are expected to be more active in fighting for their rights in job or career opportunities, maternal rights, and the equality between family and career.
The Future of Gender Equality in Indonesia
Gender equality not always has to be seen as rights and responsibilities that are exactly equal without further consideration. It is a shame when women shout about gender equality issues if we think that everything should be definitely equal between men and women. Thus basically, women will definitely not ready if they have to get same burden just like the burden that was commonly took by men. Or vice versa, men will not be able to finish all household tasks that are usually done by women.
The change in democratic situation in Indonesia that has been occurred since reformation Era in 1998 is considered not yet has the same goal with the spirit of human rights fulfillment for women. Even though reformation has bring so many changes in freedom of speech aspect, these days there are still many practices of discrimination that are experienced by women.
The researchers from CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) working Group, Estu Fanani, said that these days discriminative acts against women are still occurred frequently. According to Estu, the practices of discrimination against women are often occurred in various aspects of life from politic, economy, social, culture, and even civil.
The form of discrimination may also vary as well such as physical or mental abuse, negative stigma, domestication, and marginalization.
“Women still experience discrimination in various aspects of life, the form of discrimination may also vary as well. There are abuses, social stigma, domestication, and marginalization,” said Estu in discussion titled “Politic, Gender Diversity, and Gender Equality in Indonesia” that is held in the office of Jakarta Legal Aid, Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Sunday (21/8/2016).
Estu explained that in politic, the practices of discrimination are still experienced by women in various forms. One of them is related with quote of women delegation in voting and the making of government’s policies. According to Estu, women representation in legislature these days still not reach 30% of the number that is stated in Regulation Number 12 Year 2003 about the election of the member of House of Representatives, the member of Regional Representative Council, and Regional People’s Representative Assembly.
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Article 65 Clause (1) of Regulation Number 12 Year 2003 states that each politic party that became the candidate for election can submit candidate for member of House of Representative, Province Regional People’s Representative Assembly, and City or Regency Regional People’s Representative Assembly by paying attention to the women representation at least 30%. But in reality, said Estu, the women representation that sit in legislature these days is only about 15%.
“It’s also needed to be reviewed whether from that 15% those women are really understand about issues that are experienced by women,” said Estu. Discrimination is experienced by women are still occurred in social culture aspect. According to Estu, women have been experienced domestication among society for such a long time. This means that society still considers women’s roles are only limited to certain aspects such as in household or in issues that are only related with kitchen.
Beside, women that sit on strategic position in their work are also cannot be freed from negative stigma as well. Women are often seen as individual that cannot make decision or policies as good as men. Estu said this condition occurred because there are still education patterns in family in Indonesia that are not suitable with the current development in society. In family scope, there are still many women that are not involved in the process of making decisions. Other cause of this condition is because there are values in society that corner women.
Estu gives example, there are assumptions that a man should never cry since it will make him look weak. On the other hand, women who cry will be considered as a common thing since women are considered as weak individual. “There are still stigmas that consider women are always seen not as independent individual,” said Estu.
Criminalization against Women
The discrimination issues are also occurred in regulation aspects as well. Estu said that these days there are so many regulations that tend to criminalize women. On the other hand, Estu admits that Indonesian government has commitment to raise the issue of women’s rights in several regulations such as Regulation Number 39 Year 1999 about Human’s Rights and Regulation Number 23 Year 2004 about the Elimination of Domestic Violence. However, in the implementations of these regulations, Estu thinks that they are not according to the spirit of gender equality and equal rights yet since in several cases of sexual abuse or domestic violence, women are in fact the one that is considered guilty.
“Indonesia itself has been ratified the CEDAW and internationally has been recognized that there are women’s rights that need to be protected. But in the reality, these are often not suitable with the regulations that are existed,” said Estu. Estu added that there are still many law regulations in Indonesia that legitimize the discriminations against women. The form of this legitimacy may vary from regulations, decrees, even to local regulation.
In Local Regulation of Tangerang City Number 8 Year 2005 about the Restriction of Prostitution, for example, Estu finds the potential of discrimination and criminalization against women. Article 4 of that Local Regulation states that everyone that has suspicious acts and attitudes that can raise assumptions that she/they are prostitute are forbidden being on public streets, public fields, lodgings, hostels, hotels, houses/boarding houses, coffee shops, nightclubs, theaters, corner of the streets, alleys, or any other areas in the district.
According to Estu, this regulation can threat women’s position because it has to be admitted that the prostitution issues will always be related with women. “From that Article 4 it is clear that this Local Regulation is made based on the assumption that has potential to raise the discrimination and it has been occurred. There are several cases where women are caught by law enforcement because they are accused as prostitute,” said Estu.
Strategy of Improving the Women’s Rights Protection
Women’s role and position are basically had already ideal, important, and equal with men. Educational approach is one of the best strategies since education is considered as the most strategic aspect in raising the awareness of gender equality. Education is also considered as one of the factors that can change cultural value system in society and education can also give bigger chance to women to actualize themselves.
Education will make women have wider perspective. Education will also show awareness to women about their rights and responsibilities. Education will make women became more open minded and will show them the great responsibility as mother, make women realize about their responsibilities and their rights at the same time. To improve the quality and condition of women in Indonesia, it should be started by empowering the women themselves. Women empowering can be done by using strategy of improvement of life quality for women. This strategy will success if the programs of life quality improvement for women are performed based on the improvement of economy and women’s status.