Capturing Indonesia’s Gender Equality Issues

16 October 2015

In Indonesia, women comprise almost half (49.7%) of the country’s population, according to BPS-Statistics Indonesia in 2010.  But despite there being almost equal numbers of men and women in Indonesia, the 2010 country’s census data and the Gender Disparity Index series continue to show that women are not offered equal opportunities in Indonesia today.


“There continues to be significant gaps in gender equality and empowerment in the areas of health, education, employment, and involvement in decision-making processes, with women in rural regions suffering greater disparity than women in urban areas,” explained UNFPA Indonesia Representative Mr. Jose Ferraris during the launch of the Fund’s Gender Monograph on Monday.  


“The issues and recommendations that the monograph highlights will be hugely beneficial for future planning – and will enable policy drivers to create gender-sensitive policies that complement development aims,” added Mr. Ferraris.  


The Monograph on Gender is the fifth and final one in UNFPA’s series. The Gender Monograph, along with the monographs on Internal Migration, Urbanization, Youth and Ageing, capture the current emerging population issues and provide recommendations for policymakers.


Ms. Yohana Yembise, the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, gave the keynote speech at the launch.


“Gender equality and women’s empowerment are the key components towards poverty alleviation, promotion of economic growth and sustainable development,” she explained during her address.


“In order to accelerate action towards gender equality, strategic ministries, namely Bappenas, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection have signed an agreement on the formulation of the national strategy to accelerate implementation of gender mainstreaming through gender responsive planning and budgeting.”


The authors of the monograph, Dr. Soedarti Sorbakti and Dr. Theresa Devasahayam, presented their findings to the room of around 50 people including representatives from BPS-Statistics Indonesia, the Ministry of Health, development partners, non-governmental agencies and academics.


The authors discussed how women are still not equally represented when it comes to enrolment rates in tertiary education and they also reflected on the increasing number of female-headed households.


As Indonesia moves towards 2030 it will experience a changing age structure with a higher percentage of working age population. This will provide the opportunity for Indonesia to harness a demographic dividend, which will peak between 2020 – 2030, explained Mr. Ferraris. 


“After 2030, Indonesia will then experience an increase in the number and percentage of older people. As women have a longer life expectancy than men, this population trend will result in the feminization of ageing – a concept discussed in the Gender Monograph,” he told the room of participants.


“Females will be the largest beneficiaries of social security and health policies aimed at supporting the older age population. As the monograph shows, challenges facing women in the areas of health, productivity and support in old age will become critically important.”


The launch also included a panel discussion with Prof. Sri Moertiningsih Adioetomo from the University of Indonesia, Ms. Zumrotin Susilo, Chairperson of the Women’s Health Foundation and youth representative Anindya Restuviani, who each provided additional insights on gender from their perspectives.