World Movement for Democracy
Skills Sharing and Capacity Building Workshop on
The International knowledge Network of Women in Politics (iKNOW Politics)
By Nursanita Nasution
Parliament Member of Indonesia Commission VI
(Trading, Industry, State-owned Enterprise, Investment,
Cooperative and Small and Medium Enterprises)
Prosperous and Justice Faction
Ms. Kristin, thank you for NDI invite me to be here and for your hospitality. I was born and work in Indonesia, but after today, I feel almost like a native Kyiv. Thank you all for making me feel at home.
Delegates, all participants, it is an honor for me to share my experiences this afternoon. I hope you have brilliant ideas to participate in politics.
Three decades of research in state legislatures, universities, and international public policy centers have proven beyond doubt that women, children, and men all benefits when women are in leadership. Because, in fact, women have important roles in the society: as child, wife, and mother. As the result I say that women in politics best help democracy deliver to the grass root of society.
However, women nowadays are still facing gender problems. The data showed terrible fact how women still became marginal class in many sectors: education, law protection, politics, economics, etc which the population 230 million people. In many developing countries, such as my country, Indonesia, cultural and structural problems are the main constraints for women’s improvement in public sectors.
So what we need now is a transformational structure and culture which could recondition women’s position in the society. Since we need appropriate public policy to realize it, woman must contribute in politics. Not only to lift our position in the society but also to increase quality life of women and to have better human life in the nation and world.
Strategic planning should be done. Women should accelerate themselves against structural and cultural problems which burden them. Women should build their own networks in all formal/non formal institutions: professional, academic, women’s NGOs, and parliament’s member.
Dear my all friends, for that reason, I suggest four important issues as follow.
The first, We strive to advocate women participation in politics through law. Nowadays Indonesia’s parliament has finished the process of the Law of Politic which determined minimum 30% women’s participation in political parties and the representativeness of women in Parliament.
I am one of The Founder of The Women’s Political Caucus of Indonesia or KPPI. It was established since 2001 as supported by NDI (initiator) which brings together by the women parliament activist from 17 parties and several women’s NGO. We discussed several sets of problems on how to increase the women’s participation in politics. The discussion sometimes evolved into an experiences sharing. We have set a programmatic visit to the leader party and convinced them that women have capability of being a candidate to be on Member Parliament.
When Parliament was arranging The Law of Politic 2003, the political caucus actively advocated and strived for 30% quotas of women in parliament.
I still remember the time when we were standing out on the balcony and campaigned our voices to the member of parliaments at plenary meeting. And it was worked successfully. We have got a General Election Bill which stated that 30% representatives of women must be candidates for The Parliament Member.
Indeed, in 2004, my party, The Prosperous and Justice Party (PKS) nominated 40% women from all the Election Candidates. They must campaign to be voted, as my district Jakarta, populated by 12 million, you must get 400,000 votes. As the result we have succeeded in increasing the amount of women parliament members from 1 member at 1999 to 73 members in 2004, even though at national level there were only three women members, of which I am one.
The Election 2004 resulted in 65 women out of 550 members of parliament or 11% participation (up from just 9% in the election 1999). Then we made The Women Parliament Caucus.
This Women Parliament Caucus built networking with The Ministry of Women Empowerment to have support and encouragement for women members so the representativeness of women could be further enhanced.
And we have got the results, as follow:
1. Political party law has stated that in every party offices or branches, there should be 30% women and it should be mentioned in the party by laws. They must at the central body lever and should at the lower levels of party office.
2. The newly-amended Election law now states that the party must nominate 30% of women candidates in every level. And it now also applies the zipper system in which there should be one woman’s name amongst every three candidate names. Parties that do not do so will have their names made by public by The Election Commission as a form of social sanction. There is another law states that members of the Election Committee and the Election Supervisory Body also must also have 30% of women as their staff. So we can control the representativeness of women in every process.
3. The other laws such as the law on the organization of the Parliament and the Presidential Election are currently being discussed, and I was one of the leader of special committees of this law. The target would be to also state about women representation in the parliamentary so that women can continue to fight even more effectively.
In 2003 we have minimum 30% quota in Parliament and nowadays we have and even better Election Law. The law assured that in every three parliament candidates should require at least one woman inside. Although the law had been settled we still face problem in building our capacity in politics and campaigning women’s quality in parliament.
The Second, we build women networks to informal women leader. For instance, women in Indonesia are traditionally influenced by religious-based community, called majelis ta’lim or family and neighborhood based community called arisan.
Majelis ta’lim usually consists of 30-50 women under a woman leader called ustadzah, who gives Islamic Lecture and is very trusted by women in certain households.
Arisan is an economic networking among housekeeping women. They collect their money regularly and draw for the winner to get the collected money by turns, allowing them to save. Women in Indonesia usually join several arisans and this culture has been grown in most of Indonesian society. This arisan also help us to save the money for women candidate to do her campaign.
We have been approaching these non-traditional, non-political community leaders and have been campaigning on how important it is for women to contribute in public sector especially in politics.
The Third, media networking is also needed.
We should publish our opinions and campaign publicly about our programs. People at large should know about the strategic issues about women and how the issues could be important for them and benefit all parts of our society.
The challenge is women face difficulty in communicating with media at large because they usually can’t maintain the issues and traditionally have had less skill and practice in developing relationships with media.
We know that media also responsible to deliver democracy. Instead of media women activists use hand phone to share info and communicate each other.
Fourth, We intensively work even harder now to do capacity building of women in Indonesia, especially young women in political parties, cadres, and women-leader in many sectors. The political party should think ahead with a system how to encourage young women in public participation especially in politics, in large part because there are enough women who has the capacity but small opportunity to get involved in public arena.
We also must publish our opinions and experiences related to women’s issues that will enhance women’s school of thought at large, to include the political experience.
In PKS, our party, we have a cascade system in which from the lowest system until the highest one, we have cadre management system for each level and every level has specified some structural tasks for each level. It is gender-focused and creates an elaborate system of support for women who engage in party life. I think a good leader must prepare for the next lader.
All participants, we realize that we are a small part of global world, and one thing important is that women’s problem in all over the world will appear similar in issues, problems, constrains and also relatively similar solution to be taken. I am really glad that I can have plenty and great opportunities to meet many part women activists from various of countries in the capacity building forum since 2004 until now, such as Southeast Asia Moslem Country orum (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Jordan, etc). In Jordan, I met woman activists from Iraq and in Afghanistan I met women parliament members. Those women are great because they can give their perspectives as the women from conflict areas.
We need to have large networking for sharing experiences and having international support to realize women’s improvement in our particular country for all sectors addressing issues.
iKNOWS has been facilitating this global networking and has been encouraging us to use our voices and achieve the transformation of women’s power in my country, Indonesia and all over the world.
All counterparts must work together, women must join hand by hand whatever their nations, religions, jobs, etc. We must respect all women whatever their job, even if they choice to be a full housewife.
Empowerment of women means that women care and find the best solution for every women issue. I believe if the quality life of women getting better, the man will be happy and Human Development Index for our nation will be better.
The better portrait of women in a country, the better the country will be.