Decentralization as a Narrative of Opportunity for Women in Indonesia
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Book / Publication
In the past seven years, decentralization has been implemented in Indonesia. Yet, the outcomes show that decentralization has two faces. It marginalizes women but at the same time also provides space for women to redefine their role in local governance. This book offers a gendered analysis of decentralization to capture the efforts of women and women organizations to make decentralization meaningful for their daily life.
The first article discusses how the public domain and the political role of women are constructed in local politics and how this construction has impacted the daily life of women. It also discusses various strategies and gender interests defined by women as individuals and as part of a women organization in their efforts to make the government responsive to women’s needs.
The second article explores the question why have regulations that open up space for citizens in general and women in particular, to participate in planning and budgeting been unable to improve the welfare of the people, including women. This article exposes the politics of budgeting at the local level that has made grassroots groups, including women, frustrated with the Musrenbang bottom up planning mechanism.
The third article explores the tensions and cooperation between NGOs that work to promote women’s welfare and NGOs that work to promote democratization and good governance. By looking at the experience of thirteen NGOs, this article is making an attempt to assess whether women are really included in the local governance programs.
The fourth article looks at how decentralization on the one hand has opened up space for the political participation of women but on the other hand it has also strengthened cultural and religious identities at the local level that discriminate women socially and politically.
Finally, the fifth article is based on a thesis that looks at the oral tradition practiced by contemporary Acehnese women in order to understand the resistance of Acehnese women against discourses that marginalize them from the political realm. This thesis attempts to observe the different subjective positions held by women activists in Aceh amidst the various existing discourses constructed based on gender, nationality, and religion. ***