Februari 24, 2024

Trend of Gender Inequality in Bawaslu Continues

Recruitment of new members of the Elections Monitoring Body (Bawaslu) in 25 provinces has just finished. Gender inequality persists.

The Elections Monitoring Body (Bawaslu) has just announced their newly selected members for their subsidiaries at provincial level on Saturday (09/16). Based on Bawaslu Promulgation No.0486/BAWASLU/SJ/HK.01.00/IX/2017, we can see that there are only fourteen female new members out of 75 total new members or only about 18.67 percent.

“During the fit and proper test, there were 23 female candidates. But, in the end, there are only 14 of them who passed the test,” says Ratna Dewi Pettalolo, a Bawaslu member, during the press conference on the recruitment result, Jakarta (09/18).

Those selected female candidates are as follow:






Rafiqoh Pebrianti


Chief of Election Monitoring Committee (Panwaslu) at Sarolangun Regency


Masita Nawawi Gani

North Maluku


Erna Kasypiah

South Kalimantan

Member of Bawaslu in South Kalimantan


Sri Rahayu Werdiningsih


Member of Bawaslu in Yogyakarta


Marlenny Momot

West Papua

Member of Panwaslu in Sorong Municipality



Central Sulawesi

Member of KPU in Palu Municipality


Astuti Usman


Member of KPU in Central Maluku Regency


Patimah Siregar


Member of Panwaslu in Bengkulu Municipality



Riau Island

Member of the Commission for Monitoring and Protection of Children in Riau Island


Tuti Yurkrisna

Central Kalimantan

Member of Bawaslu in Central Kalimantan


Sri Wahyu Araningsih

Central Java

University lecturer in Diponegoro University


Fatikhatul Khoiriyah


Member of Bawaslu in Lampung


Nuryati Solapari


Women movement activist


Siti Khopipah


University lecturer in Jayabaya University


If we compare the result with the previous period, the total of selected female candidates in Bawaslu recruitment process is stagnant. In the recruitment process in 2012, there were fourteen selected female candidates out of 75 new members (18.67 percent). These fourteen female candidates come from thirteen different areas in Indonesia, such as Riau, South Kalimantan, Bangka Belitung Island, Yogyakarta, Gorontalo, Central Sulawesi, Bengkulu, Riau Island, West Sumatera, East Nusa Tenggara, Central Java, Lampung, and Jakarta.

Several of those areas are no longer supplying Bawaslu with female members this year. Those areas are Riau, Bang Belitung Island, Gorontalo, and East Nusa Tenggara. In the previous period, there were two female new members from West Sumatera, but, this year, there is none.

However, there are also areas where there was no female members in the previous period, but this year they have recruited female members. Those areas are: Jambi, North Maluku, West Papua, Maluku, Central Kalimantan, and Banten.


Sri Budi Eko Wardani, a political science expert from University of Indonesia, who is also involved in the recruitment process in East Nusa Tenggara, says, there are two major factors of this persisting gender inequality in Bawaslu. First is the limited supply of qualified female candidates and, second, the fact that government is still implementing gender-neutral, or even gender-bias, regulations.

The limited supply of female candidates is mostly caused by activists’ emphasis on only improving gender equality within political party and the legislative branch of govenrment (the parliament).

In the last five years, there so many female activists who had been projected to fill the role as parliament members. As the consequence, now there are more female activists working inside political parties compared to female activists who work at election management bodies (EMBs). In addition, there is a regulation that forbid any political party member to apply for a position in EMBs unless he/she had quit his/her position in the party at least for five years.

Many female activists fail to realize this sooner. Now, it is difficult to find a qualified female candidate to be promoted as EMBs’ member, specifically in Bawaslu. Therefore, Wardani says, it is a challenge for women activists to not only focus on tackling gender inequality in legislative branch, but also in the membership of the EMBs.

“It is important for women activists to seek out for female candidates who have integrity and free from any political affiliation,” says Wardani (09/19).

Meanwhile, a research conducted by the Center for Political Study (Puskapol) of University of Indonesia shows that there is a persistent cultural obstacle that often hampers Indonesian women from participating as EMB members. That cultural obstacle is that women in Indonesia are still considered as domestic worker and it is their duty not to neglect this role even if they have proper profession outside their home.

“This cultural obstacle is still a problem. Our society demand women to fulfill their role in domestic sphere and this has hampered women to have complete authority in their profession as activists or, especially, politicians,” says Julia Ikasarana, one of the members of the research team.

Technical Regulations

The regulations implemented by the government are also a factor in the persisting gender inequality in Bawaslu membership. The Law No.15/2011 has, indeed, mandated that there must be at least 30 percent of women representation in EMB membership. However, in reality, there are still regulations that are still neutral-gender or straight-out bias, especially in the recruitment and selection process.

There should be regulations that mandated recruitment and selection committee members to actively invite potential female candidates to apply for membership. For example, Bawaslu should create a database on their members that could be used to identify potential candidates.

“At least Bawaslu should have a database on their members. Based on the database, they could identify and analyze the inequality within their organization,” Julia says.