Indonesia Today: The Dire Need of Woman Advocacy

“Women make up one half of society. Our society will remain backward and in chains unless its women are liberated, enlightened and educated.” 
Saddam Hussein


mass noun

The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

In the land of conservatives, changes is struggling and so does feminism. Ranked 106th and 95th in gender inequality index and global gender gap index, we are definitely far from the finish line. Though we are not the first, surely we are one of the early party who begins our journey in advocating women’s right with R.A Kartini as our patron. But as the saying goes, having a head start doesn’t insure anything. Groups of people unite and form movements in the hope of helping women in Indonesia to regain equality, yet we are progressing in such a lame pace.

Three Major Things that Hampers Our Progress:

  • Rooted patriarchy and conservatives
  • A false paradigm of feminism
  • Inadequate support from the Government

“Men is the One Held Responsible for the Household”

Though it is wrong, it does sounds familiar. Patriarchy is a system of society or government in which men hold the supreme power or authority and women are largely excluded from it or in other words, simply follow. Indonesia as part of the asian community tends to believe that man is more capable than woman. Most places choose the leader not with a merit-based system but with this preference instead. And so does the household, man and women are hardly seen to stand in equal ground but instead we frequently hears elder saying how woman must submit to her husbands. And thus here we are seeing how woman since the very first place are banned from having such a position that allows them to show their capability. Trying to get pass such paradigm is a tough fight, where only some succeed and failing might results in a disgrace. The conservative seems to see in history that man is the most influential gender inventing, reforming, and leading many things. But what the conservatives miss is not that women lacks contribution but instead they are hampered to do so. Many woman were being the decisive factor that becomes a patron in our history, some that without would make a much worse world compared to ours. History tried to be fair, sharing stories of Joan of Arc, Margaret Thatcher, or here in Indonesia independence fighter such as Cut Nyak Dien but these heroes are sunk between more (in number) men of history.

How People Miss the Idea of Equal

Some, if not most, sees feminism as an act or movement that attempts the domination of women. People tend to see that what feminist support is a complete revolution of the current status quo. In the end of the day, what we are striving is a steady evolution through the advocacy of woman’s right and socialisation of the concept “equality”. However such thought doesn’t come from nowhere, it derives from the existence of several types of radical feminism such as the radical, socialist, or the even worse the anarcha-feminism. Whereas radical seeks the total obliteration of the concept of gender, socialist sought an equal economic right in an aggressive way which relates to the anarcha-feminism which encourages a total war against patriarchy or in this case male through any means necessary. The conservatives are terrified, they know that a social hierarchy being turned in a short period might create instability and their mindset is not yet prepared. Instead what might works is the introduction of liberal feminism that asserts the equality of men and women through political and legal reform. Liberal provides us with the concept of organic change, where even if the old conservatives won’t support us, the youngster’s mindset could be formed slowly and thus sooner or later allowing a gender equal society to exist.

Quota, and How It Helps

Around 18 out of 100 who sits in the parliament is women, the other 82 is male. however 51% of our workforce is women, sounds pretty fair and square isn’t it? No it doesn’t, most women that are chosen are used as a cheap workforce. They are equally big in number because most manufacturer, such as cigars, employs women who works with a cheaper wage. How could we seek equality? The first step is to open a chance for a merit-based selection which means before, government should introduced (even further) women’s capability to work with men on equal ground. How’d we do that? With patrons, and in nowadays society patrons comes in form of an inspirational leaders, be it an entrepreneur or someone who sits in the governmental sits. We had Risma as the mayor of Surabaya who shows excellent work, and we need many more. More women should be given the chance or the slot in the parliamentary election. A system should be erupted on controlling an equal number of men and women in the parliament or the house of representatives. More than half of our population is woman, shouldn’t it be only right and just to also have half of them as a representative?

In the end of the day, it depends on us people who knows to introduce such a mind blowing idea the people who don’t. One step at a time, and we’ll reach our goal in no time.