Neti Istimewa Rukmana, Yogya – Dozens of students from various different universities that are part of the International Women's Day (IWD) alliance articulated the 2023 IWD Manifesto during an action at the Malioboro shopping district in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on March 8.
Field coordinator Dwi Rizky said that the Yogyakarta IWD 2023 action took up the theme "Women and the People Unite! Fight Sexism, Reject the Criminal Code and the Jobs Law".
"So, today's action is being held to celebrate International Women's Day. (Taking part are) our collective friends, feminists and other like minded groups who have gathered", Rizky told journalists on Jalan Malioboro in front of the Ketandan Kampung main entrance on Wednesday.
The theme was taken up bearing in mind the many written (legal products) and unwritten (patriarchal products) regional regulations that result in many women being in a weakened position, marginalised and discriminated against.
"There are still many groups who suffer discrimination [in obtaining] their rights and access in their social environment. Not just discrimination of their rights, but to the point of violence that has a fatal impact such as the widespread cases of femicide (violence and murder just because they are women)", said Rizky.
"Women have a share in society and the world, but we are often forgotten in history. Many women are still struggling to achieve their equality. This is then commemorated every March 8 as IWD or International Women's Day", added the student, who is also the general chairperson of Indonesian Women's Secretariat (Srikandi) at the Gajah Mada University (UGM) in Yogyakarta.
Women and groups who are discriminated against by this patriarchal system, she said, continue to fight to this day by all means possible. So strengthening solidarity, learning together and empathy are the key to articulating women's needs.
Deputy field coordinator Aradi Priyanto meanwhile said that the Yogyakarta 2034 IWD Committee is demanding 19 things from the government.
"Nineteen important demands, yeah, because all of them are related to bringing down patriarchy and to empower women throughout the world. But several of our demands are political in nature also", she said.
The 19 demands include opposing the recently enacted Criminal Code, rejecting the Omnibus Law on Job Creation, rejecting draft regional regulations and 48 regulations that criminalise and persecute LGBTQ+ people, revising the recently enacted Law on Sexual Violence Crimes so it returns to its original form as the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU PKS), urging the government to create safe space for women in educational and religious institutions and to stop silencing students.
Following this, the group is pushing for the creation of a gender based education curriculum in educational institutions, an end to land theft and the release of three farmers arrested by police in Pakel Village in Banyuwangi, an end the criminalisation of environmental activists, an end the criminalisation of human rights defenders and civil society and calling for access to legal and safe abortion.
The IWD Yogyakarta 2023 Committee is also asking for protection guarantees and safe space for women workers in the workplace, reform of the state apparatus, a 50 percent quota for women in all public positions by improving the competency, credibility and role of women in state administration, a decent national minimum wage and workers' welfare, guaranteeing the rights of migrant workers, along with guaranteeing information, psychological and legal counseling for victims of domestic violence (KDRT).
"We also demand the enactment of the Draft Law on the Protection of Domestic Workers and the fulfillment of the rights of people with disabilities", said Priyanto.
Therefore, this year's IWD began in the busy Malioboro shopping district in front of the Kampung Ketandan main entrance then ended at the zero kilometre point in front of the Yogyakarta post office.
"Because, this is in line with our desire to reach a larger audience. So our voices are heard more widely", she asserted. (Nei)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Aliansi IWD Yogyakarta Suarakan Manifesto Hari Perempuan Internasional di Malioboro".]