Indonesia: Anti-Discrimination Women's Movement

Solidaritas Perempuan

On the 100 years celebration of women’s day, Solidaritas Perempuan (SP) organized a campaign series with title of Anti-Discrimination Women Movement (GADIS) as a form of public education. The selection of “GADIS” (GIRL) term, was not to reinforce nor perpetuating patriarchal discourse behind the word of GADIS that limiting women sexuality rights, but this campaign also used the term GADIS to restore the original meaning, which was; a woman who have undergone puberty and during that time, discrimination of women sexuality rights was becoming more visible.

This GADIS campaign performed since March 7th, 2011 until March 11th, 2011. This campaign performed simultaneously on four region, which were Aceh, South Sulawesi, Sumbawa and Jakarta. We began this week (March 7th, 2011), by sending statement to entire Solidaritas Perempuan networks with title of “Women Accuse: State Consistency on the Act of Omission and Violation of Women’s Rights”. The peak of the weekend was on March 8th, 2011. In coincidence with World Women’s Day, SP commemorated the day by performing women’s day parade. This parade started from horse statue and stopped for a while at the Constitutional Court to express some statement, before continuing in front of State Palace. Women and men that wore colorful dress, with different culture walked side by side while sang: 

“Come down to the street. Changes for women’s justice… We perform action here, with all my heart.. to fight for women’s sovereignty.”

This parade marked with various expressions that showed women’s talents. Expression of demand to the government can be shown with various ways. SP activist performed oration regarding the pressure of state’s responsibility of all acts of omission and violation of women’s rights that happened to all segments, issues and classes. There were also SP activists that choose to express with their umbrella dance. Dancers that came from SP Jabotabek community was very powerful and spirited under the heat of the sun by dancing a colorful umbrella. Activists with posters written with statements to the state were also present. In additions, SP activists that performed parade with bicycle also present. It didn’t stop there, when they were gathered with other networks, GADIS provided contribution to the action throughout poetry musicality. Three poems that was created and read by SP activist filled the theatrical performance “Free Women from Crisis”. GADIS also provided space for women from Poso, Mid Sulawesi to speak about their testimony about their experiences as a woman. The demands of SP were: 

1. Stop the Commodification of Women Migrant Workers by immediately ratifying 1990 Migrant Convention about Migrant Workers and Their Family Rights and also revision of Act No. 39 year 2004 about Placement and Protection of Indonesian Labor in the Abroad based on 1990 Migrant Convention and CEDAW. 

2. To conduct a full settlements of people’s land-grabbing case as result of mining, palm oil plantation and infrastructure developments; as well as cases of criminalization of victim society and women human rights defender. 

3. Revoking policies that boost natural resources exploitations and destruction to the environment and women livelihoods, such as Act No. 4 year 2009 about Mineral and Coal and also Act No. 25 year 2007 about Capital Investment. 

4. State stop the act of omission of food crisis and violation of food rights and returning people food sovereignty by performing revision of Food Act No. 7 year 1996 that protects, fulfills and respecting women’s rights of food. Also to fix domestic food production system by performing agrarian reform so that people, whether it’s man or woman able to produce, distribute, and consume their own food and not being dependent to imported food.

5. Stop performing act of omission of violence in the name of religion and stop producing regulation that discriminated women because it violated State constitution and Act No. 7 year 1984 about ratification on Convention of Elimination of Discrimination to Women, Act No. 7 year 1999 about Human Rights and Act No. 5 Year 1998 about ratification of Anti Torturing Convention. 

Same message, but the language can be different. Both can perform in synergy without differing any substantial message and technique to deliver it which can be seen by medias, as connecting door to public. (This synergy showed up on second page of Kompas daily newspaper, March 9th, 2011)

On the next day, in particularly for religious politicization and women issues, performed media briefing (March 9th, 2011). This event participated by 8 medias that were mainstream and online medias such as: ANTARA, Liputan 6 – SCTV, Today, Media Indonesia, Kompas, Jurnal Nasional, Sinar Harapan, and Kompas Female. On this case, SP strictly stated that the state appeared to be powerless against all those religious and majority groups so that it seemed like the state was compromising with all actors whom convicted of violence to women and other minority groups. This showed that the state systematically performed act of omission to any violence to women and other minority groups for the sake of SBY-Boediono power position. The demands of SP were: 

1. Revoking all regulation or policies that discriminate and criminalized women, including 3 ministers joint decree No. 3 year 2008. 

2. Ensuring draft of local regulation meets the constitutional rights of women and other minority groups.

3. Stop producing regulation that discriminative to women because it’s against 1945 State Constitution, Act No. 7 year 1984 about Ratification of Convention of Elimination of Discriminative Action to Women, Act No. 39 Year 1999 about Human Rights and Act No. 5 year 1998 about Anti Torturing Convention ratification. 

4. Ensuring that state providing protection of space and movement, protected from all kind of threat as the form of protection of constitutional rights as a women, as minority group, and as Indonesian citizen.

Even though participated by less than 10 medias, this event provided a shocking result. Journalists that participates the event were able to write three different columns even though it came from the same inspiration, from SP. Besides that, GADIS campaign also went via IT. IT campaign not merely run by the activists. Media also contributed in it. Such as news on Kompas Female entitled “GADIS INGIN KESETARAAN (Girls Want Equality)” read by 852 people, Komhukum with title of “7 fact of Indonesian women” were read by 191 women, and shared on to Facebook for 10 times and tweeted for 69 times, article on Media Indonesia with title of “Three Ministers Joint Decree About Ahmadiyya Threatened Pluralism” was liked by the public, Kompas with title of “Join Decree is in fact the source of discrimination” read by 699 people, commented by one, and shared to Facebook for 4 times and tweeted 10 times, and Today with title of “156 Local Regulation founded Discriminative to Women” were shared by Facebook-ers, and 10 tweets. For blog campaign, published via SP website, small blog such as feminis gaul, sayangi inong aceh, and kompasiana. Also with twitter and Facebook. Update of activity always kept updated via various status and tweets with hashtag (#) GADIS.

On the last day, GADIS visiting Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection (KPPA). GADIS then being welcomed by Deputy III of Women Protection, Drs. Safruddin Setia Budi, M.Hum and his assistant. On that meeting, SP questioning the position of KPPA on advocacy of women matters on the issues of violence in the name of religion. After stating various facts that was founded throughout the research, Deputy of Women Protection positively welcoming joint action on determining the indicators of local-village regulation that considered gender bias. KPPA admitted always experienced difficulties on budgeting on drafting their activities, especially about this policy advocacy. So that on March, which is the beginning of first year of budgeting, advocacy of monitoring local-village regulations that were gender bias/discriminative became their first step. KPPA as governmental institution/executive was unable to monitoring the authority of Domestic Ministry because they have equal position, whereas this issue supposed to be a joint work with Domestic Ministry, along with the women issues that were related to religion. KPPA was unable to state any opinion because this was out of their authority. The result of the meeting was that the synergic advocacy effort about discriminative local regulation, eventhough SP still held the intersection feminist analysis as their surgical tool. 

This campaign was closed on March 11th, 2011 by signing petition with title of: “ELIMINATION OF ALL VIOLENCE ACTION TO WOMEN IN THE NAME OF RELIGION” via online petition. Please do visit: Petition as closing options actually was not to lower the spirit to keep fighting for women’s justice and accusing that women were a freedom beings that bale to determine their own choices and history. As a girl that was free to have her autonomy, including her sexuality. 

By Andi Cipta Asmawaty