Indonesia, the fourth most populous nation and third-largest democracy, has scheduled its presidential and legislative elections for 14 February 2024, generating early hype as campaigning starts in 2023. But, problems persist in female representation in politics.
Proportion of female politicians
In the 2024 election campaign, maintaining the important meaning of political participation for women in Indonesia becomes increasingly crucial for representation.
Law No. 12 of 2003 on Election of Member of the House of Representatives, Regional Representatives Council, and Regional House of Representatives first confirmed the importance of women participation in politics. Law No. 12 of 2003 mandates a 30% quota for women’s representation in the list of candidates for legislative members.
Since then, the percentage of female candidates’ representation has consistently increased: 29% in 2004, 33.6% in 2009, 37.6% in 2014, and reached 40% in 2019.
However, the number of female candidates that have successfully secured seats in parliament has never reached the 30% mark.
The year 2019 marked a historic achievement in Indonesian history with 20.87% of women representation in the legislative body. The number was the highest proportion since the New Order era.
The fight for mandatory quota
In relation to women participation in politics, female activists’ have been making persistent efforts to fight for a mandatory 30% quota for female candidates participating in politics or elections.
Furthermore, the General Election Commission (KPU) will amend Article 8 paragraph 2 of KPU Regulation No. 10 of 2023. Initially, regulation calculates the 30% participation by rounding the number down. The amendment on the provision will calculate the participation rate by rounding up the number to allow for higher chances for women to participate in politics. This means that with the amendment, a 25% participation will be rounded up to 30%, meanwhile before, 25% will not be sufficient because it will be rounded down to 20%.
Titi Anggraini, Member of Perludem’s Advisory Board, warned that thousands of female politicians running for office face potential elimination if the KPU Regulation is not amended.
“Changes will be made in terms of calculating 30% of the number of prospective female candidates in each electoral district resulting in a fractional number being rounded up,” said Hasyim Asy’ari, Chairman of the Indonesian KPU.
Solution to the problem
Activists also urged for logistical access in the form of human resources, finance and campaign networks, to be provided for women candidates and more active involvement from men to advance women’s politics.
In addition, women activists continue to strive to change the existing perception and norms that challenge gender roles and promote gender equality.