IWD protesters in Medan say capitalism curbs women’s rights

Harian Orbit – March 8, 2012
Women activists commemorate IWD in Medan - March 8, 2012 (PESADA)
Women activists commemorate IWD in Medan - March 8, 2012 (PESADA)

Medan – The commemoration of International Women’s Day on March 8 was enlivened by a demonstration by scores of women in front of the North Sumatra Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) in Medan. The protesters said that women are still treated unjustly and subordinated in numerous ways.

The protesters, who came from the Women’s Liberation Struggle Front (FPPP), called for an end to violence and sexual harassment against women.

Action coordinator Jumeida said that women are still treated as second-class citizens. One indication of this is that the state still does not give women the broadest possible access to jobs.

Jumeida also said that women invariably become the object of violence but the government has been unable to guarantee special protection for women.

Moreover the recent proposal to ban women wearing mini-skirts at the national House of Representatives gives the impression of undermining women’s’ rights as if what they wear can give rise to criminal acts. Yet, she added, women should have the right to be complete human beings.

“Women’s expression [of themselves] should not be restricted”, she asserted. Jumeida believes that the current enemy of women is the capitalists who attempt to curb women’s rights.

Meanwhile, Syahfitri, a member of the North Sumatra DPRD Commission A and secretary of the women’s empowerment caucus, attempted to hold a dialogue with the protesters. Syahfitri said that she herself as a member of the DPRD had never made any promises to the people.

Upon hearing this remark, the protesters refused to speak with Syahfitri saying that she is not competent to receive the aspirations of society.

The action, which continued for around five hours, resulted in the flow of traffic on Jl. Imam Bonjol becoming congested. Om-26

[Peringatan Hari Perempuan, Wanita Diperlakukan Tak Adil – Harian Orbit. Friday, March 9th, 2012. Translated by James Balowski.]