Indonesian parliament calls for urgent action to end violence against women in politics

Indonesian MP Diah Pitaloka signing VAWP declaration
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Indonesian parliament calls for urgent action to end violence against women in politics

In collaboration with UN Women and the Women's Parliamentary Caucus of the Republic of Indonesia, WFD organised an event to mark the #16Days of activism against gender-based violence at the Indonesian Parliament complex in Jakarta (29/11) where representatives of all political parties in the parliament signed a declaration to condemn violence against women in politics, especially ahead of the upcoming 2024 elections.

Indonesian parliament calls for urgent action to end violence against women in politics

The Women’s Parliamentary Caucus of the Republic of Indonesia signed a declaration today to “condemn any form of gender-based violence that hinders women from fulfilling their equal rights” and to urge all groups to allow women to safely participate in politics.

The document, signed at the parliament building, is the first-ever official declaration in the country that explicitly addresses gender-based violence in politics, one of the biggest obstacles to women achieving full political rights.

The Women’s Parliamentary Caucus comprises all 167 women members of the House of Representatives and the Regional Representative Council.

The signing was a part of the “parliamentarians standing up to violence against women in politics” event, organised by WFD in partnership with UN Women Indonesia to mark the United Nations 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.

Puan Maharani, Speaker of the House of Representatives (the country’s first female Speaker), signed the declaration virtually and said: “From gendered double standards to sexual harassment, the unique obstacles faced by women running for offices need to be brought into sharp relief. Today, we gather here to convey a clear message: we must act together to break the culture of silence that perpetuates violence against women.”

Diah Pitaloka, Chairperson of the Presidium of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus, called on all parties to immediately ensure the protection of women from all forms of violence as citizens who actively participate in both general and regional elections.

During the event, representatives from the parliament, the National Commission on Violence against Women, leaders of political parties, and civil society activists discussed the structural and normative barriers to women in politics. The panelists spoke of how they themselves faced discrimination and hostility while running for office.

Women’s representation in the parliament has been increasing – they now occupy almost 22 per cent of seats, compared to nine per cent in the country’s first democratic election in 1999.

However, Agus Wijayanto, WFD Country Representative in Indonesia, said, “Women make up almost 50 per cent of the Indonesian population, yet they have not been adequately represented in our parliament. Having more women win parliamentary seats is crucial to allow them to be fully involved in decision-making to benefit all women and girls. At WFD, we are committed to helping remove barriers to Indonesian women entering politics.” 

Said Jamshed Kazi, Representative and Liaison to ASEAN of UN Women Indonesia: “We need more men to walk alongside women – as allies, peers and enablers – to break the glass ceilings that hinder women’s meaningful political participation, and to ensure that all spaces where decision-making takes place are free from discrimination and violence against women in politics.”

A donation booth was set up at the event in partnership with Pundi Perempuan, a women's trust fund for responding to cases of violence against women and girls, to allow members of the parliament to support survivors of violence – the first step in turning their declaration into action.

After the half-day signing event, the members of parliament resumed discussing the enforcement of the Sexual Violence Crime Bill, which the parliament passed earlier in April.

For additional information:

About Women’s Parliamentary Caucus of the Republic of Indonesia (KPPRI) 

The Women Parliamentary Caucus of the Republic of Indonesia (KPP-RI) is an organization within the parliament that aims to facilitate effective communication between women Members of Parliament and other stakeholders, as well as to strengthen the capacity of women parliamentarians in formulating and promoting gender-responsive policies.

About Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD)

The Westminster Foundation for Democracy is a public body of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland dedicated to supporting democracy around the world. It works in partnership with political parties, parliaments, and civil society organizations to create a fairer and more inclusive, accountable, and transparent political system. 

About UN Women

UN Women is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programs and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide.