Women activists in Yogyakarta reject unjust, oppressive capitalist system

Suara Merdeka – March 8, 2012
Women activists commemorate IWD in Yogyakarta - March 8, 2012 (PM)
Women activists commemorate IWD in Yogyakarta - March 8, 2012 (PM)

Yogyakarta – The commemoration of International Women’s Day (IWD) in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on Thursday was marked by a protest action by hundreds of women from the Indonesian Women’s Movement (Gerakan Perempuan Indonesia, Gepari) voicing their demands on the grounds of the Yogyakarta Regional House of Representatives (DPRD).

The protesters said that the state has failed to protect and provide welfare to women. The indications of this can be seen from various things, from the numerous legal cases that have befallen women to the problem of low wages.

Action coordinator Fatum Ade said that although the number of women in parliament has increased, the enactment of laws that discriminate against women has grown in number. “Every year Women’s Day is commemorated throughout the world. But in our country, women are still found that are victims of oppression and injustice”, she said.

These conditions, which box women into a corner, are caused by a state that adheres to the capitalist system. There are many negative effects that in the end have to be shouldered by women such as violations against the right to leave for menstruation, pregnancy and giving birth.

“The capitalists take advantage of the situation to get women workers with low wages. They are also vulnerable to dismissals because women are not considered the main breadwinner [in the family]”, she asserted.

When confronting the law, particularly in relation to cases of sexual violence, women are often boxed into a corner. Under the criminal code, rape is still covered in an article under the chapter on morality. Yet rape is clearly a crime.

“Meaning a rapist is considered as a person who acted immorally. Rape cases should be provided for under a separate chapter that contains articles and laws that are more explicit”, she explained.

The action, which was joined by activists from a number of different groups, proceeded in an orderly manner. The demonstrators began the action at the Abu Bakar Ali Park then set off towards the central post office. There was little security apparent during the march and the flow of traffic in the Malioboro shopping area continued to flow smoothly. (Amelia Hapsari/CN34/JBSM)

[Ratusan Aktivis Perempuan Tolak Sistem Kapitalisme – Suaramerdeka.com. 08 Maret 2012. Translated by James Balowski.]