Safari Sidakaton – International Women’s Day (IWD) was commemorated by a variety of different women’s communities and organisations that united under the International Women’s Day Action Committee (KAHPS), which presented a “Claim for Payment” to government institutions and agencies on Friday March 8.
Among the government institutions that were given the claim for payment were the General Elections Supervisory Board, the State Ministry for Women’s Empowerment and the Protection of Children, the Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare, the Ministry of Transport, the Communication and Information Ministry, the Constitutional Court and the President.
The claim for payment was because the government has repeatedly promised to protect its citizens, however the reality is that many women still fall victim to violence, are treated in a discriminatory manner in society and the workplace and suffer ill treatment and impoverishment.
Prior to submitting the claim for payment, thousands of women held a carnival and long-march from the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta to the nearby State Palace. During the action the demonstrators wore purple coloured armbands as a symbol of women’s struggle against violence, discrimination and impoverishment, and in the sprit of the birth of IWD.
A number of organisations and communities joined the action including Perempuan Mahardika (Free Women), the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (PKBI), the Confederation of Prosperity Labour Unions (KSBSI), the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI), the Confederation of the All-Indonesian Workers Union (KSPSI) and the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace (ICRP).
In addition to these, also taking part was the Indonesian Journalist Alliance (AJI), the Cross-Factory Labour Forum (FBLP), the Trade Union Rights Centre (TURC), the Unity in Diversity National Alliance (ANBTI), the New Land Community (NLC), the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta), the Women’s Alternative Education Circle (Kapal Perempuan), One Billion Rising Indonesia (OBR Indonesia), the Student Struggle Center for National Liberation (Pembebasan), the Nusantara Trade Union Alliance (GSBN), the Indonesian Legal Resource Center (ILRC), the National Students Forum (FMN), Migrant Care, the National Network for Domestic Workers Advocacy (JALA PRT), the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI), the Mitra Inti Foundation, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Solidarity Network for the Families of Victims (JSKK), the Health Volunteers (REKAN), the Ardhanary Institute, the Transsexual Youth Studio (SWARA) and the Friends of Indonesian Women and Children Indonesia (SAPA Indonesia).
Also joining the action was the Solidarity for Luviana Alliance (Aliansi SOVI), the Jakarta City Social Forum (FMKJ), the National University Student Solidarity for Democracy (SOMASI UNAS), the Foundation for Psychological Recovery and Psychosocial Empowerment (Yayasan PULIH), the Islamic Student Movement (GMI), the Ciputat Branch of the Muslim Students Association Women’s Corps (KOHATI HMI Cab. Ciputat), Peace Women Across the Globe Indonesia, the Indonesian Youth Alliance (ARI), the Indonesian Women’s Coalition (KPI), the University of Indonesia Gender Studies (Kajian Gender UI), the Advocacy Network for the Revision of the Law on the Placement and Protection of Overseas Migrant Workers (Jari PPTKILN) and the Indonesian Social Foundation for Humanity (YSIK).
Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) legislator Rieke Dyah Pitaloka also gave a speech. Also participating was the Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation (HIVOS),, the Women’s Institute (Institut Perempuan), the Indonesian Women Parliamentarians Caucus (KPPI), Movement Indonesia, the Tarumanegara University Student Executive Council (BEM), the Abolition of Violence against Women and Children Concern Group (KePPaK Perempuan), the Mitra ImaDei Foundation, Caring for Migrant Workers (PBM), the All-Indonesia Workers Union Federation Reform (FSPSI Reformasi), Women’s Solidarity (SP), Women Heads of Families (PeKKa) and the Executive Board of the Indonesian Islamic Students Movement Women’s Corps (Kopri PB PMII).
Elly Firziliana, the founder of the Street Traders Community, said that what was being done by the thousands of women in commemorating IWD was also a struggle for women. Because, to this day the government has still not been able to provide protection to women workers. An example of this is that when women work outside of the home, there are no guarantees of protection.
“So far the government has only made promises. The implementation of this protection has been very inadequate, currently it is only a discourse”, said Firziliana. She added that special train cars for women have not guaranteed protection for women and in other public domains there is no sense of safety for women. “Another example is decent wages for working women that has yet to be resolved and [human] trafficking”, she said.
According to Niken Puruhita, a member of the New Land Community (NLC), while there are legal provisions that protect women, many are not understood by the police. For example, when reporting cases of domestic violence (KDRT) many police officers do not understand the articles. “The Law on KDRT does indeed exist but its implementation is inadequate. When reporting to police it turns out that many police officers don’t understand. So the KDRT law has not reached into government institutions”, she explained.
[Hari Perempuan Sedunia, Komite Aksi Perempuan Tagih Janji Pemerintah – tnol.co.id. Friday, 08 March 2013. Abridged translation by James Balowski. The final section of the article was a short history of IWD and was not translated.]