Jakarta – The commemoration of International Women’s Day (IWD) in Jakarta on Sunday March 8 was marked by a long-march from the General Elections Supervisory Board (Bawaslu) building in Central Jakarta to the nearby Presidential Palace.
According to action coordinator Mutiara Ika, this year’s action sought to directly convey their position and demands to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
Widodo, she continued, views and articulates the problem of violence against women as something which is important and urgent. But these words are not in accordance with what has been happening recently.
Mutiara said that they in fact see that there are many draft laws which conflict with protecting women while other laws, such as the Draft Law on Domestic workers and those related to sexual violence instead lie idle.
The protesters believe that there are political obstacles related to the culture of patriarchy resulting in efforts to empower women not reaching the grassroots.
“At this [year’s] action we’re going to the Palace. We want to declare a position, demand that Jokowi acknowledge cases [of sexual violence], solve them and create a comprehensive system of protection for women. Then revoke discriminative perda [bylaws] and also development which [only] sides with investors”, she told CNN Indonesia during a break in the action in front of the Bawaslu on Sunday.
Around four thousand people took part in today’s action. According to Mutiara, they came from a number of different women’s groups, social organisations, organisations working to protect women, trade unions and the general public.
They brought banners and posters with a variety of demands such as “Oblige Judges to have a Gender Perspective”, “Sick of Reading about Dead Women in the Headlines”, “The Famepire Strikes Back” and “Wash Your Face, Clean Your Teeth, Fight Patriarchy”.
“At this IWD, women are showing they have power. There is a sense of togetherness, it is not just we alone who are making change”, she said.
International Women’s Day 2020 took up six demands: Solve cases of violence against women; build a comprehensive system of protection for women, revoke gender discriminative policies; ratify the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence and the Draft Law on Domestic Workers; reject the Omnibus Law, the Draft Criminal Code and the Draft Law on Family Resilience and; halt development program which [only] sides with investors. (els/mik)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Jokowi Diminta Cabut Perda Diskriminatif Terhadap Perempuan”.]