Thousands of women march on State Palace to commemorate IWD

Kumparan – March 8, 2019
Women activists march on State Palace – March 8, 2019 (Kumparan)
Women activists march on State Palace – March 8, 2019 (Kumparan)

Women’s rights activists commemorating International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 gathered near the Horse Statue monument before holding a long-march to the Aspiration Park in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta.

IWD is commemorated globally on March 8 to remember the gains won by women working in economic, political and social fields.

Some 65 different social organisations took part in the long march with organisers estimating that thousands of people took part in the rally.

The protesters, who wore various kinds of head bands, arm bands and purple banners, were not just made up of women, but men who also took part calling for women’s equality.

Taking up the momentum of the 2019 presidential and legislative elections, the theme taken up IWD 2019 was “An Independent Political Platform for Women”.

This year’s peaceful action focused on the movement to awaken women’s consciousness and demand political space for women which is democratic, equal and free from violence.

“We know that the state has failed to provide security and protection for women, because we are still seen as objects, we are seen as dead objects which have a voice but our voices are never listened to, our voices have been lost from the Indonesian political stage”, said IWD Committee member Dian Septi in a speech at the National Monument (Monas) on Friday.

The peaceful action was also aimed at calling for women’s rights and other issues such the exploitation of women, sexual violence, decent wages, polygamy, child marriage and for the ratification of the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS).

“Polygamy, no, child marriage, no, RUU PKS? Yes!”, shouted the protesters.

As of posting this report the long-march to the State Palace was still continuing. Following the action, representatives from IWD 2019 plan to meet with the Minister for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection in order to convey eight types of problems being faced by women: women and labour; women and education; women and sexual violence; women and health; women, identity and expression; living space and agrarian rights; women, policy and legal protection; and women, media and technology.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Peringati Hari Perempuan Internasional, Aktivis Long March ke Istana”.]