July 18, 2024

2024 Elections: Threats of Violence and Challenges of Women’s Representation

Facing the 2024 Elections, the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komisi Nasional Anti Kekerasan terhadap Perempuan or Komnas Perempuan) highlights the potential for violence against women to spill over into the domestic and household realms. This is due to the characteristic of Indonesia’s political system being dominated by patriarchal culture, which views women as weak and unproductive individuals. However, the presence of women in politics is crucial for decision-making and policy-making from a gender perspective.

“The issue of women is not just a side issue, so public awareness to discuss women’s issues is very important. If we look at the many successful women figures worldwide, this reflects back on Indonesia, on how women are present in the public sphere, especially in politics,” said Vice Chair of the Komnas Perempuan, Olivia Salampessy, in an online discussion titled “Mewaspadai Potensi Kekerasan terhadap Perempuan dalam Pemilu 2024 [Being Alert to the Potential Violence against Women in the 2024 Elections]” organized by the National Commission on Violence against Women on February 5.

Olivia explained that according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2023, Indonesia scored 0.697 points in the Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI) in 2023, ranking 87 out of 146 countries. This score is assessed based on four dimensions: educational attainment, health and survival, economic participation and opportunity, and political empowerment.

Furthermore, she elaborated that in the area of economic participation and opportunity, Indonesia scored 0.666, in education 0.972, and in health, it obtained a score of 0.970. These figures still fall within the global average. However, in the dimension of political empowerment, Indonesia only scored 0.181, significantly below the global average. Yet, she noted that women’s political rights are guaranteed by the constitution and other legislation.

“This illustrates how women’s political rights in Indonesia still remain a long-standing work in progress, even though we are protected and guaranteed by the constitution as well as various policies and legislative regulations,” she explained.

Commissioner of the Komnas Perempuan, Veryanto Sitohang, added that in the past 10 years, there have been 2,452,206 cases of violence against women, with a tendency to increase every year. Additionally, the National Commission on Violence against Women found that there are at least 441 discriminatory policies produced by local and central governments, with 305 of them still in effect today.

“These discriminatory policies, directly or indirectly, impose restrictions, neglect, exclusion, and even under the guise of morality, constrain women. This institutionalization of discrimination has a very negative impact on the lives of the people and women,” said Veryanto.

Meanwhile, Titi Anggraini, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia, referred to the 2024 General Election as the autumn season for the legal politics of women’s representation. This is based on the policy of the General Elections Commission (KPU) through Article 8 paragraph (2) letter a of Regulation KPU (PKPU) No. 10/2023, which actually weakens the political representation of women. However, she noted that women still face obstacles in political participation, whether as voters, candidates, or election organizers.

“The political commitment of parties is not yet fully solid towards women; perhaps women are still considered non-competitive,” explained Titi.

Titi also evaluates that women have not yet become a priority for political parties in nominations. She sees very few women placed in the number 1 of legislative elections candidates list. In the 2024 legislative elections, only 7.13% (262) of women legislative candidates were placed at number 1, 11.64% (428) at number 2, and 26.28% (966) at number 3. However, the most elected candidates in the 2019 Elections were those placed at number 1.

In an electoral system with too many candidates, voters struggle to obtain information and electoral education. Consequently, as voters, if candidates are ranked, then logically, voters tend to prioritize candidates with lower numbers,” she stated. []


Translated by Catherine Natalia