February 23, 2024

Julia Ikasarana: The Selection Committee for EMB Members Has to Fulfill the 30% Woman Quota

The number of women participate in the selection process of the election management bodies (EMBs) members is still low. There is only 28 percent of total registrant for the selection of the Election Commission (KPU) and Election Monitoring Body (Bawaslu) members for the 2017-2022 period.

Julia Ikasarana from the Center for Political Studies (Puskapol) of University of Indonesia explains that there are four factors that may hamper women participation in the selection process. Those four factors are: cultural, geographical, knowledge, and regulation.

During the screening of a video campaign titled “It’s Time for Women to Lead” (11/15), Rumah Pemilu sat down with Julia to talk more deeply about the obstacles and how to tackle them.

The number of registrant in the selection process is still low. Why?

There are four factors that may hamper women participation: cultural, geographical, knowledge, and regulation. Cultural constraint is the root of the problem. Majority of people are still expected women to work domestically. This, in turn, makes it hard for women to be more independent in politics.

Men have better access to information than women because they have more freedom in public sphere. As the consequence, men have better knowledge about elections than women.

Regarding the regulation constraint, is it enough to guarantee more women participation in parliament just by mandating the 30 percent quota for women?

The Law 15/2011 mandates political parties to obey the 30 percent quota for women. However, in practice, the selection process and its technicalities do not really compatible with the rule.

For example, there is regulation which states that the selection process shall be held in Jakarta, makes it difficult for women in local areas to participate.

Most of the times, men politicians use the quota rule as an excuse to say that the Government and Parliament have been very generous for women. The Law should have been able to resolve all of the problems faced by women.

There is a recommendation for the Parliament to also include a minimum 30 percent quota for women participants in EMBs’ members selection process. Do you agree with this recommendation?

I agree. Such provision is expressly stated in our law. We need a selection committee that is objective and impartial, but at the same time we also need a selection committee which understand that women may face greater difficulty and obstacle.

A 30 percent quota for women in EMBs is important to realize a more free and fair elections for women. Therefore, EMBs should be able to prove their commitment to the regulation in the selection process.

What else can the Government do to resolve the gender inequality problem?

We can never resolve this gender inequality problem only with new regulations without supplementing them with active government’s role and support. The government has the authority to conduct measures that may help to resolve the problem, such as distributing relevant information to raise awareness about the issue, or providing elections and politics training for women groups.

Other than recommending regulations, what do Puskapol do to resolve the problems?

We initiate the “Women Lead” program to reconcile the significance of quantity achievement with quality achievement. We invite many women activists from three areas, Surabaya, Medan, and Makassar, to intensely discuss all the technical matters regarding elections. This is to resolve the unequal access to information faced by women groups. In addition, we also provide them with soft skill training so that they will be more prepared in undergoing the selection process.

We hope this program will strengthen the sisterhood bond and expand women networking groups. 77 out of 96 participants in the program are participating in the EMB members selection process to meet the minimum 30 percent quota.