Redefining Gender Reform in Indonesia: Oligarchy and Exclusion of Marginalized Women

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Lugina SETYAWATI , Department of Sociology, University of Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia
Diana T PAKASI , University of Indonesia, Depok, Indonesia
Gender reform is regarded as a precondition for democratization since it results in women’s empowerment. In Indonesia, gender reform implicated in gender mainstreaming policy and affirmative action policy which assure women across classes, ethnicities and ages as significant beneficiaries of democratization that is currently taking place in the country. This study examines the impacts of gender reform policy toward marginalized women. Using Banten, a province headed by a women governor, as a case, this study employed a qualitative method (i.e. FGD and in-depth interviews) for its data gathering strategy. This study indicates that gender reform has mainly benefited elite women. They have captured local discourses on women political participation and gender mainstreaming programs through the practices of oligarchy and control over resources in various domains. Moreover, the elite women have used their access to political power for continuing practices of nepotism, corruption, and the accumulation of the ruler's wealth.  As the consequences, marginalized women, particularly the poor, have been excluded from the access to political and economic resources. Gender reform policy has not yet contributed to the transformation of marginalized women to have a better living. This study contends that women are not a homogenous entity. Their gender identity intersects with class, ethnics and other identities. Accordingly, women have various interests and regard gender reform as opportunities in different ways. Hence, the practice of oligarchy done by women elites has confirmed the heterogeneity of women based on their intersectional identities. Therefore, gender reform policy promoted by the Indonesian government, does not necessarily benefitting all women citizens in equal basis.