“Indonesian women demand gender justice and economic justice for women”
Tuesday, 8 March 2022 Coinciding with International Women’s Day, 45 women from various backgrounds in 10 regions/regions in Indonesia, namely North Sumatra, Bengkulu, Jakarta, Purwokerto-Central Java, Maluku, East Nusa Tenggara, Central Kalimantan, South Sulawesi, Bali, and Papua, held a National Consultation to formulate an agenda of women’s pressure on the situation of injustice and economic inequality experienced by 320 women from women farmers, fisher/coastal women, indigenous women, urban poor women, women informal workers, transwomen, women with disabilities, women disaster survivors and other marginalised women.
To this day, the neglect of women’s rights, especially for poor women, continues to be carried out by the state and non-state actors. Women are still denied the right to proper education for poor women, guarantees of protection of women’s health and women’s reproductive health, economic access and recognition of women’s work, especially women homeworkers and other informal workers, and denial of women’s rights to a healthy and good environment, and protection of women’s access to natural resource management.
The neglect of women’s rights is also evident in the discrimination of women in decision-making meetings at all levels, so that women’s right to have an opinion based on experience is neglected. Likewise, the neglect of the rights of women victims of sexual violence and the rights of women disaster survivors. The state to this day does not have a law that guarantees the protection and fulfilment of the rights of women victims of sexual violence, instead discrimination is often experienced by women victims of sexual violence. “Safe house facilities and economic strengthening for women victims of sexual violence or domestic violence have also not become the main agenda of the State in ensuring the protection of women victims,” said Ibu Ketut – Puspa BALI Forum.
Women from various backgrounds and sectors revealed that the state is still neglecting and even becoming the perpetrator of injustice and violence against women. This can be seen in the facts of discrimination in access to population administration for poor women, not being fully involved in decision-making and women’s consent regarding development policies and projects/programs that damage the environment, displace, seize land and livelihood for women. For example, reclamation projects, privatisation of small islands, large-scale palm oil and sugarcane plantation projects, pulp and paper projects, food estate projects, cement mining projects, which eliminate women’s access and control over their natural resource environment.
This situation is exacerbated by climate change conditions. Climate disasters, such as floods, tidal floods, abrasion, cyclone, drought, and others, further increase the burden on women in surviving and fulfilling the needs of themselves, their families and communities. Unfortunately, the government responds to climate change with mitigation projects that do not pay attention to human rights, the environment and social conditions faced by women. Even government policies in responding to climate change have not been gender responsive, both mitigation and adaptation policies. For example, hydropower projects, geothermal power plants that pollute water, eliminate women’s livelihoods/economic sources, and food sources, have added to the chain of impoverishment of women. Meanwhile, women’s initiatives in mitigating and adapting to climate change have not been recognised by the government.
The COVID 19 pandemic that has occurred since 2020 has further worsened the economic situation of women, including women informal workers (fishermen, street vendors, farmers, home-based businesses, and others). Women continue to strive to develop economic business initiatives to survive the pandemic. “The pandemic period is very difficult for us informal workers. Our income has decreased, but we don’t even get government subsidies,” said Mrs Muh – Jakarta.
Unfortunately, the State does not ensure the guarantee of protection for women in accessing facilities, capacity, access to business licences, access to markets and subsidised business capital that they need in developing economic initiatives to fulfil their needs. In fact, not a few places of women’s economic activity were forcibly evicted by the Government in the name of development projects/programmes.
The face of women’s economic injustice and inequality above shows the face of women’s impoverishment caused by the state and non-state systems. Government policies and projects/programmes that are developed without the full involvement and consent of women, have exacerbated gender and economic injustice for women.
“G-20 negotiations during the Indonesian presidency must not ignore the voices of grassroots women. Economic recovery efforts must also listen to their voices and initiatives by ensuring the protection of women’s rights and access to their environment and natural resources,” said Titi Soentoro – Executive Director of Aksi! for Gender, Social and Ecological Justice.
Although Indonesia already has Law No.7 of 1984 on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and Presidential Instruction No. 9 of 2000 on Gender Mainstreaming, unfortunately these policies seem to be “turned off” because they are not integrated in all development policies and projects, especially projects that damage the environment and exploit natural resources. In fact, women human rights defenders and environmental rights defenders who fight for their lives and livelihoods, are often subjected to intimidation, violence, and criminalisation by the State due to the voices of women’s struggles.
Therefore, on International Women’s Day, Aksi! together with 22 other organisations and community women from 10 regions in Indonesia, demand the State to:
- Ensure the full involvement of women with diverse identities, at every stage of the policy-making process and approval of development projects or programmes.
- Stop development programmes and/or projects that violate human rights and women’s human rights, damage the environment and exploit natural resources that displace livelihoods and impoverish women.
- Repeal climate policies and stop climate change response projects that ignore human rights, environmental sustainability, are not gender responsive and do not favour women.
- Repeal the Job Creation Act (Omnibus Law) which makes it easier for the state and or companies to carry out land grabbing, environmental destruction and exploitation of natural resources, and threaten women’s lives and livelihoods, including increasing criminalisation for women human rights and environmental defenders.
- Discuss and pass the Bill on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, and stop all threats and criminalisation of women human rights and environmental defenders.
- Ensure the economic protection of women, including women informal workers, by providing guaranteed access to facilities, access to business licences for poor women, access to capital and markets to strengthen women’s economy.
- Recognise and support women’s initiatives in economic development, as well as safeguarding community economic resources.
- Ensure the protection of women victims of sexual violence, by providing legal aid services and providing safe house facilities and economic strengthening for women victims of sexual violence.
- Protection and fulfilment of the rights of women disaster survivors, including climate disaster survivors, including shelter, access to food, access to economic recovery, and protection from various threats of sexual violence, including recovery from trauma due to disaster impacts.
Names of organisations:
(1) Walhi Jakarta
(2) Jakarta Homeworkers Network (JPRI)
(3) KSPPM (North Sumatra)
(4) Toba District Farmers Union
(5) Konco Sinau Purwokerto
(6) Solidarity of Kinasih Women
(7) Esbisquet Palangkaraya
(8) SP Mamut Menteng /Kalteng
(9) Jaringan Perempuan Indonesia Timur -JPIT Kupang
(10)Makassar Women’s Solidarity
(11)Maju Bersama Women’s Group for Environmental Care (Bengkulu)
(13)Live Indonesia/B Bengkulu
(14)LBH Bali WCC Bali
(15)Forum Puspa Kab. Tabanan Bali
(16)Puspa Forum Bali Province, Denpasar region
(17)IWAPI Kab. Tambanan
(18)Fatayat NU Maluku
(20)TIKI Papua – Jayapura
(21)Lekat – Jayapura
(22)Harapan Ibu Foundation
(23) Lowewini Community – Kupang
(24) Samosir Regency Farmers Union – STKS