February 23, 2024

Women in Politics Still Marginalized on Social Media

Women’s voices are still considered silent in politics and public policy, primarily due to the strong patriarchal culture in Indonesia. As a result, women continue to face gender-based violence in elections, reflected in the widespread marginalization of women on social media.Top of Form

“And what we found is that there are many forms of attacks, violence, and misinformation targeted at women during elections,” said Intan Pratiwi, a Senior Researcher at the Institute of Sustainability, Resilience, and Acknowledgement (ISRA), during an online discussion titled “Women Responding to Misinformation in Elections” (1/11)

Based on ISRA’s monitoring and analysis of the X application (Twitter) from August 1, 2018, to May 1, 2019, there were 1,288 conversation tweets about women and the 2019 Elections. The findings classified 746 retweets, 523 replies involving 1,846 Twitter accounts.

Intan stated that women are often attacked in terms of ideology, physical appearance, labeling, and religion. Through these four aspects, misinformation spreads on social media, diminishing the value of women in politics, so they are not evaluated based on their capabilities and skills. Intan believes that this happens due to the persistent stigma and sentiments against women beyond domestic activities.

“Politics until now is still strongly associated with a very masculine world, so labeling of women is most prevalent on social media,” she explained.

Intan further mentioned that the vulnerability of women to misinformation during elections is due to the behavior of buzzer, supported by the low literacy of netizens. Additionally, she considered the inefficient complaint mechanisms and the brief campaign schedules as challenges in the recovery of victims.

Olivia Chadidjah Salampessy, Deputy Chair of the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komisi Nasional Anti Kekerasan terhadap Perempuan or Komnas Perempuan), stated that the societal perspective that politics is a domain for men is a reason for the emergence of numerous narratives depicting women as unfit for politics. However, she emphasized that in the context of elections, this perception would have long-lasting consequences, ultimately leading to the marginalization of women legislative candidates (caleg).

Women will find it difficult to advance to higher levels because the potential for violence can take on structural dimensions, such as through policies that do not yet support affirmative action for women, social dimensions of violence, and potential violence due to gender bias narratives,” explained Olivia.

Olivia also mentioned that this issue stems from the internal problems of political parties that are not well-established and democratic. She views the current implementation of policies for affirmative representation of women as mere administrative requirements. According to her, the political will of political parties in encouraging women cadres to run as legislative candidates is crucial for democracy. []

Translated by Catherine Natalia