Lugas Subarkah, Jogja – Continued cultural and systemic gender based oppression does not just befall women but other vulnerable groups as well. In response to this, a number of organisations in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta took to the streets on International Women’s Day (IWD) to call for equality and gender justice.
Srikandi Inter-Belief Network media division head Wulan Agustina Pamungkas explained that there are a number of issues being taken up at IWD 2020, including calls for the enactment of the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS), demanding that the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation be scrapped and calling for an end to stigma against disabled women.
“We are pushing for the RUU PKS be enacted immediately. So far the deliberations have stalled. Yet in Jogya there have been many cases of sexual violence. Meanwhile there are no regulations yet which protect women from sexual violence”, she said on Sunday March 8.
IWD originates from a protest by women workers at a textile factory in New York on March 8, 1857. The protest was triggered by the arbitrary actions by the company against women workers. Today, in cities across the world, IWD is celebrated with street actions by gender activists and workers.
Aside from the issue of sexual violence, the protesters also raised the issue of labour. One such recent case was a strike by AICE ice cream factory workers who were protesting poor working conditions which they have endured since 2017.
Yogyakarta Independent Journalists Alliance (AJI) Chairperson Shinta Maharani said that the momentum of IWD is not just to articulate women’s issues but to also take up the issue of democracy and human rights.
So the network is also using the opportunity to raise the issue of human rights violations in Papua and the restrictions on domestic and international media in Papua.
“If there is no access [for journalists] then the public cannot obtain transparent information about Papua”, she said.
Maharani also highlighted violence against women journalists both in the workplace as well as in public while they are reporting. “This is why women journalists need solidarity to fight sexual violence. The Jogya AJI supports the enactment of the RUU PKS”, she said.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Peringati Hari Perempuan Internasional, Massa Suarakan Pengesahan RUU PKS”.]