Seizing Women’s Political Rights with the New Elections Law

Circa one hundred years ago, Kartini wrote on one of her letters: “Go, seize your dream. Fight for your future. Fight for the happiness of thousands of people currently living under the oppression of unjust law and false ideologies that tell you which is good and which is bad. Go! Go ahead! Fight and suffer, and work for causes that are eternal.”

The quote was read out loud by the Chairperson of Caucus of Women’s Politics in Indonesia (KPPI), Dwi Septiawati, during a public discussion titled “Kartini Talks about Elections” in Jakarta (04/20). Septi says Indonesian women today should carry forward Kartini’s spirit and fighting for gender equality and equal access to public domain. Today, Indonesian women should seize the opportunity to change the course of history by becoming national leaders and policy makers.

“Women has the power to make a difference in policy making. Women should become the partner for men in building this nation. Therefore, the government should be able to guarantee the fulfillment of the 30 percent quota for women in Parliament,” says Septi.

Septi also says that KPPI is prepared to provide quality female politicians to fulfill the needs for better women’s leadership in public domain. KPPI will also implement the individual and family empowerment programs, and will keep on building a more friendlier societal environment for women’s leadership.

“We want family to be the supporting system for women’s leadership, and no longer be the obstacle as it currently is instead. We would like to also change the mindset of the people so they become more pro to women’s leadership,” says Septi.

KPPI then demands the members of the Special Committee for the new Elections Law Bill to include five new regulations as a proof of commitment on behalf of the government on gender equality in politics. Those regulations are: (1) political party shall place female candidate as their number one candidate (on their candidates’ list) in at least 30 percent of all electoral areas; (2) every candidate should at least be a member of any political party for three years before he/she can be proposed as electoral candidate; (3) the Election Commission shall prioritize female candidate whenever there is a tie in an election; (4) the government should provide financial support and subsidies for female electoral candidates; and (5) the government should provide a hotline service or a center for the public to report any violation or abuse on those regulations.

“It’s time for us to stop any unplanned and unorganized attempts. Members of the Special Committee should be able to prove their commitment to be inclusive and open in making regulations,” Septi concluded.