This journal is a result of the research conducted by Women Research Institute (WRI) in collaboration with Hivos, which aims to present not only about women’s organizations and their works, but also a description of the type of female leadership which is suitable for women’s organizations in Indonesia. WRI chose five areas of research, namely Jakarta, Lampung, North Sumatra, Padang, and Lombok, which represent the efforts of women’s organizations in handling women’s issues around them. This research also seeks to obtain an overview of the issues and challenges of women’s issues that are currently or will be faced by women’s organizations.
A study of female leadership, or more specifically about the aspect of “feminist leadership” in post-authoritarian Indonesia, has yet to be studied widely in the context of their roles in the process of a wider social transformation.
Women’s non-governmental organizations in the five areas of research showed that women’s roles are strengthening, although in substance gender equality has yet to be achieved. The roles of women’s organizations in the five areas of research show that they have affirmed women’s roles in a certain scale. Institutionally, they have the capacity to build and develop women-based organizations. This is important, as the implementation of the gender equality and equity policy demands for the active roles of women in decision making.
A high involvement of women in decision making will have an impact in the improvement of women’s condition and position in the public sector. In this case, the accountability of the public sector is inevitable and should be achieved. The results from the study in the five areas imply that women’s roles in the decision-making process has not been carried out widely. Women’s non-governmental organizations only have the access to organizing events for women. They are generally not involved in the budgeting process for development programs; and even if they are, usually their participation is limited to the Forum for Development Planning (Musrenbang).
The dynamics of local power, as well as the role of female leadership, should be understood in a wider context that involves various parties within the transformation process, in order to understand contextually the forms of power that are being run.
Looking back to the history of women’s movement in Indonesia, it observable how the definition of gender that outlined their work has changed along time and with the social, political and cultural demands that women are subjected to. Organizations’ characteristics, work strategy, and leadership have undergone changes from time to time. These changes cause not only differences in the form of the organizations, such as Non-Governmental Organizations, associations, and women’s mass organizations, but also the pattern and work strategy that they chose, as well as the involvement in cooperation or networking. Considering that the definition of gender has to meet the interests of a number of parties, the space for organizations working in this field thus widens or narrows according to the current political condition.
Since post-authoritarian Indonesia, the opportunities for participation at the public sphere have become more widespread, and the number of women playing a role at the public sector, such as in politics, has also increased.
Efforts to achieve gender equality in the private sphere still need to be done in order to improve the condition and position of women. Moreover, the beliefs on what women can do should not be restricted to particular kinds of jobs in the private sphere. Women’s achievements in the public sector are expected to shift those beliefs in align to values and principles of equality and equity, both for men and women.
This research aims to observe and understand the forms of power among women in social movements, as well as their social, cultural and political implications at various levels, such as the individual, family, civil society groups and general public in post-authoritarian countries like Indonesia.
Jakarta, 14 May 2013
Women Research Institute