Listen to episode 59 of Ear to Asia: Empowering women in Indonesia’s villages
Improving the lot of Indonesia’s rural women is no easy task. Yet the recently passed Village Law provides a unique opportunity for civil society organizations, government and village leadership to give women a stronger voice in decision making. Indonesia researchers Dr Rachael Diprose and Dr Amalinda Savirani examine the challenges faced by rural women and the programs being developed to help overcome them. Presented by Peter Clarke. An Asia Institute podcast.
Narrated videos and animations: Research themes
This video provides an overview of the research, highlighting the cultural, social and economic diversity of Indonesia.To help understand this variation, through our analysis, we have distinguished between four broad categories of contexts, which are more or less conducive to women’s collective action and influence. In this video we explain this notion of context conduciveness to women’s collective action and gender inclusion and how gender-inclusiveness in these contexts can also change over time through the grassroots efforts of women
Understanding homeworker’s rights advocacy in different villages
This video outlines trajectories of change created by women’s collective action in two research villages in Yogyakarta and North Sumatra which both deal with the recognition of homeworkers’ rights. Homeworkers represent an informal sector and workers have no official recognition. Women homeworkers are far more likely to face discrimination, precarious livelihoods and low incomes. Women homeworkers are also not well captured in social protection initiatives. Despite differences in the onset context conduciveness in which Yasanti and Bitra started their advocacy, both have influenced change in policies. Through homeworker unions, women have grown skills, networks, and knowledge of labour rights, creating change for themselves and gaining government recognition through the formal registration of unions.
Understanding social protection advocacy in East Java
In this video, we discuss the trajectory of change in an East Javanese village where the conduciveness to gender inclusiveness before the scale-up of CSO support was relatively limited. An issue in this village is the high prevalence of unregistered marriages. With the support of PEKKA, women established a community-based group of female heads of families, known as the Pekka union. The Pekka union helped establish a PEKKA Information and Consultation Service and Clinic, known as KLIK PEKKA, where villagers are assisted to obtain administrative documents, like marriage certificates and identity cards. Village women, with the support of PEKKA, also lobbied for and assisted the drafting of a 2017 Village Regulation to increase marriage verification.
Understanding social protection advocacy in South Sulawesi
In this video, we describe the changes in a South Sulawesi village, where the outset conduciveness context was highly difficult. Here women founded grassroots groups, known as the Women’s School, with the support of KAPAL Perempuan and local partner, the Community Empowerment Study Foundation (YKPM). Here, women grew their awareness of gender equality and began to develop collective participation in village decision-making and advocacy for allocation of funds for savings and loans and securing funds for basic needs, such as clean water, sanitation facilities and electricity from the village budget. The experience of the island women illustrates how the trajectory of women’s collective influence is not always upwards and linear.
Understanding advocacy for migrant workers in West Nusa Tenggara
This video maps the trajectory of change in a village in West Nusa Tenggara. Contextual factors mean that women often leave the village to seek employment. Village women, with the support of Migrant CARE and local partner, the Panca Karsa Association conducted a survey which documented the issues facing migrant workers. This was used to advocate for migrant worker rights. Former migrant workers formed the La Tansa Migrant Workers Observer Group to increased skills and share information about safe migration.
Understanding efforts to improve women’s health and nutrition in West Java
This video outlines the trajectory of change in a West Java village in which positive changes were brought about through women’s collective action primarily to increase women’s awareness and understanding of sexual and reproductive health issues. With support from ‘Aisyiyah, women formed village-based women’s groups (Balai Sakinah ‘Aisyiyah–BSA) and influenced village policy and decision-making. Women also created a ‘nutrition garden’ which provides agricultural training and livelihood opportunities.
Understanding efforts to reduce gender-based violence
This video highlights three case studies of women’s initiatives to reduce rates of gender-based violence and provide support for women and children victims of violence in North Sumatra, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara. Across the archipelago, village women, with the support of CSOs, led a wide range of initiatives, from multi-stakeholder forums, to care posts, safehouses, and paralegal groups. Women’s efforts have increased awareness about the importance of gender justice and gender equality, which has also effected broader positive changes, like increasing women’s involvement in village governance and decision-making.
Our research identified three interacting pathways through which women enact change and exert influence. This conceptual diagram illustrates these pathways in relation to the village and district contexts as well as the kinds of collectivities that were in existence and introduced. These factors inform our understanding of how various pathways produce outcomes in terms of gender inclusion, women’s empowerment and influence over the implementation of the Village Law.
Posters: Understanding pathways of change through women’s collective action
Word clouds: Key research themes
Word Clouds are simple way of analysing and visualising text. Words appear in differing sizes relating to how often they appear in a text; the larger the word the more frequently it is used.
Women’s Organisations in the study
Key findings graphics
This animated GIF shows the interactive map of the research village sites across the Indonesian archipelago. The blue areas indicate the district in which the village is located. Clicking on these areas activates pop-up boxes with information about the province, district, the CSO partner active there as well as descriptions and links to the case studies and life stories connected to the village. Go to interactive map.
This conceptual diagram illustrates these pathways in relation to the village and district contexts as well as the kinds of collectivities that were in existence and introduced. These factors inform our understanding of how various pathways produce outcomes in terms of gender inclusion, women’s empowerment and influence over the implementation of the Village Law.
During our research, we took many photographs of women, their activities, research villages and CSO group actions. For more photos, go to Galleries