Published: 09/05/2006

The Indonesian government through Presidential Instruction (Inpres) Number 9/2000 has established a legal basis for Gender Mainstreaming (PUG) in all aspects of the national development. The government has also attempted to take strategic steps to disseminate gender perspective. In that regards, Indonesian government, after the reformation in 1998, has shown its willingness to implement PUG strategy in its development programs, policies, and regulations issued as a legal basis for the government’s works. Three years after the Presidential Instruction was issued, the government issued the Decree of the Minister of Home Affairs Number 132/2003 on General Guidelines on the Implementation of Gender Mainstreaming for Local Development. These regulations added the list of the previous regulations, for example Law Number 7/1984 on the ratification of Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; CEDAW. Related to the efforts of the government to implement PUG strategy, there are several regulations such as Law Number 25/2004 on National Development Planning System, especially Chapter 12 which is about the improvement of women’s quality of life and children’s welfare and protection. Besides, in the same Law, gender is also mentioned in thirteen other chapters which are the operational basis for the implementation of PUG strategy in each field of development. The law was then explained in Presidential Regulation Number 7 /2005 on the Medium Term National Development Plan (RPJM) year 2004-2009.


Specifically, the government issues its annual work plan, for example Government Work Plan (RKP) 2005 which is under Law Number 36/2004. The law states the importance of gender analysis for development policy. Moreover, Presidential Regulation Number 39/2005 which is used as the RKP work basis affirms that PUG is stipulated as one of the strategies needed to be implemented in all aspects of development so that we can have gender-responsive policies or programs or development activities.

Nevertheless, we often find a gap between programs or policies and budget allocation for the formulated programs. The gap can also be seen in the willingness of the government to be more transparent and participate in its planning and budgeting process. The budgeting process is fully the rights of the local government; however, the planning process is expected to engage the people. This will encourage the government to take strategic steps in disseminating gender perspective. In general, local government budget in Indonesia has not utilized gender perspective yet. The budget is more like an aggregate local budget, so the recognition of socially and culturally different human factors is not taken into account. This leads to biased policy. As a consequence, the impacts often result in unequal benefits for men and women. In that case, development is not truly aimed at improving people’s welfare through the consideration of the gender gap in the society.

Besides that gap, another problem is the gender knowledge among the people and government officials.
People often think that gender is the same as women’s sex which makes women’s issues as the focus instead of social and cultural construction which causes the differentiation of women and men’s roles.

In practice, this tends to discriminate women in all fields that women’s welfare is worse off than men’s. Even though people interpret gender and women’s sex as the same thing which leads to women’s issues only, this, at least, shows that there is a willingness to try to understand what gender really means. Moreover, the fundamental problem is the fact that most local government officials who deal with budgeting are completely unaware of the understanding of gender. Also for those who understand, they have not been able to utilize gender perspective to decide priority programs and budget, both for women and men’s needs. As a consequence, women are the disadvantaged party in the context of budget allocation for development. In this, developments results have not made women equal to men. This shows that there is a gap in the understanding of gender perspective in program planning and budgeting.


Basically, gender budget drafting has the potential to reduce the gap so that bias, for example in women’s participation, can be avoided. Even though participation has been opened, social and cultural barriers which shadow women remain as the obstacles that prevent them from influencing decision-making process. Even when women attend the meetings, women are often only counted in the context of their attendance, but not for their contribution of substantial thoughts. As a result, their access and control of development programs is weak. Access and control of development programs is still much in the hands of men. That is a problem that has to be taken seriously because it does happen in the research areas. Therefore, a joint thought to avoid gender bias which triggers discrimination against women is needed.


Since the government policy on PUG was proclaimed in 2000, gender issue in development has seemed to receive a more important space. The policy does not only encourage bureaucrats to choose gender perspective, but also persuade international donor organizations to support civil society organizations in accelerating gender movement. Advocacy of gender budget has been the focus of Non-governmental Organizations’ (NGOs) activities in Indonesia for about five years.

Advocacy of gender budget has been set in 2001 by several NGOs which are the members of Gender Budget Analysis Forum which works in national level and is supported by local network and forum members who work locally. At the national level, the forum advocates gender budget by urging People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) to allocate a budget of 30% for education sector, 15 % for health sector, and 5% from the state budget for women’s empowerment (Decree of People’s Consultative Assembly No.6/2000). At the local level, the forum encourages local government to draft gender budget as what has been done by the local governments of Surakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya, Sulawesi Selatan, Mataram, and Kupang. Even though the start of the advocacy does not begin from budget issue− like in Sulawesi, Surabaya, Mataram, and Kupang which started from voter education, eventually there was a joint act between local government and Regional Legislative Council (DPRD) to draft local government budget (APBD) which is more gender-responsive through the active participation in proposing the programs during Musrenbang, so it is hoped that there will be balance, justice, and welfare as the results of development for both men and women and girls.


Nevertheless, Musrenbang regulations which open public participation in planning and budgeting have not seemed to be able to encourage most districts or cities to restructurizer their APBD. Through the advocacy to support public participation, it is expected that the percentage of Regular Budget and Development Budget are no longer 89:11 in proportion, but reach the ideal of 50:50 to give meaningful impacts to the society. The involvement of several civil organizations in advocacy has seemed to encourage the government to issue several policies which guarantee the implementation of PUG strategy in Indonesia. One of the regulations that can be referred to when an NGO does an advocacy for executives in drafting gender budget is the Decree of the Minister of Home Affairs No.132/2003. Gender budget (ABG) is a toll to build equality, balance, and gender equality to realize social welfare. The tool in gender budgeting using gender perspective is also needed by the central and local government so that the drafting of budget using gender perspective can be done promptly along with the issuing of PUG policy. Though, the regulations have not resulted in meaningful impacts in the improvement of marginalized people’s welfare especially women’s.

The government regulations have opened a space for public participation in the drafting of priority programs according to the needs of the people. Even so, these regulations have not functioned in improving marginalized people and women’s welfare. Because of that, the indicators which show the high rate of social injustice experienced by women in Indonesia is actually increasing, for example is the high number of maternal mortality rate (AKI). In 2002, the ratio of maternal mortality is 380/100.000 (Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) et al, 2004). The data of BPS on the number of illiterate women who is above 10 years old in rural areas shows a percentage of 16% illiterate women and 7% illiterate men. In urban areas, the difference in percentage shows a percentage of 8% for women and 3% for men. The data from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) shows that women above 15 years old who are illiterate constitute 45% of the population while the percentage is “only” 23 for men. The data is explained by Dr. Meiwita Budiharsana, a representative of Ford Foundation in Indonesia, as quoted by Pambudy during an event in Jakarta which is quoted by Kompas, 24 September 2005.


Gender budget which has been introduced in Indonesia has not brought any changes in the welfare of the marginalized people especially women. Up to this far, the budgeting system in our country does not employ gender perspectives. In fact, the budgeting system is gender-biased because the discourse of the dominant patriarchy makes it insensitive to the needs of women which are indeed different from men’s needs (Noerdin et al, 2005). The government, in setting its budget allocation and distribution often does not consider these different needs using gender perspective. The assumption that the budget allocated for public and officials will definitely be utilized by men and women has often been made as a  cliche justification for budget policy that is not gender responsive. The government officials often forget that even though the budget allocation will eventually reach everybody, it is not guaranteed that women and men will benefit from it equally. Facts show that the impacts of the implementation of budget policy for men and women are highly different. In this, women who are culturally and historically inherit backwardness in education and decision-making process compared to men will only be even more disadvantaged because they are never the subjects of development process. As a result, the gap between men and women is even greater and stronger.

From the explanation, advocacy is a strategic program which can support the implementation of gender budget. This can be seen from the regulations issued by the government at the national level. Even so, with the implementation of decentralization system, budget advocacy can be done not only in national level, but also in each district or city whose numbers are now more than 460 districts/cities. As a result, assistance work in the process of Musrenbang is not an easy task. The same thing applies to participate local regulations issued by the local governments. These regulations often cannot be implemented because gender perspective has not been the basic consideration in the drafting of development budget. Besides, there are also several obstacles related to NGOs’ advocacy at the regional level.


In relation to that, it is important to promptly conduct an assessment of the impacts and capacity of the advocates of gender budget to be able to recognize the socio-cultural and political obstacles. This is important considering the tendency that the government rules and regulations are not implemented or there is a budget deviation which result in the budget that is not gender-responsive. From the assessment, we will be able to spot the failure and success of the inclusive local governance and citizen engagement in encouraging the improvement of welfare among the marginalized people especially women.


The Problems

Thus far, there are quite a few terms related to gender budgeting which in Bahasa Indonesia would be translated into several different translations such as “Gender Budgeting”, “Gender-responsive Budget”, and “Gender Budget”. Women Research Institute (WRI) uses the last term which is “Gender Budget” based on political, social, and cultural reasons. First, the Indonesian government has expressed its support to achive gender equity and equality by issuing PUG policy for all of the legal work plans. However, it is often found that there is a gap between the policies that supports gender equality and the way the government conducts its budget allocation and implementation. Second, the government in running its programs or activities needs financial support as expressed in APBD and APBN. The commitment of the government to run PUG in the implementation of APBD and APBN would theoretically result in gender-sensitive budget. Third, the implementation of APBN and APBD for people’s welfare should consider the values of justice and equality based on non-discriminative relationship pattern according to social class, religion, cultural group, ethnicity, and sex.

Gender budget also lays its foundation in the process starting from the planning, implementation, monitoring, to evaluation of the budget. More than that, budget should always be based on interactive consultation process between the people, both men and women, the executives, and legislative members. Gender budget is an effective tool and strategy to reduce poverty since it can encourage the government to focus on programs for people’s welfare improvement especially programs for marginalized groups including the group of poor women who are often socially seen as not being capable to be the head of their family. Gender budget is aimed at reducing the social, economic, political, and gender gap between men and women. Moreover, it also helps in promoting the accountability of public resources spending, including public budget, to the people especially women who are often marginalized compared to men in decision-making process on the spending of the respective budget.


This research is based on the problems that occur during the gender budget advocacy which has been done by several NGOs in Indonesia. There are a number of questions as the basis of this research, they are:

  1. What are the impacts of the advocacy that has been done by several civil society organizations in Indonesia to include the need to use gender-responsive perspective in local budget drafting to achieve people’s welfare especially for marginal groups and women?
  2. How far the results of the gender budget advocacy work and how effective the advocacy done by civil society organizations in encouraging the government to be more sensitive and able to draft gender budget, and what are the obstacles found during the advocacy?
  3. What are the lessons that can be learned from the gender-responsive advocacy and what are the capacities needed by civil society organizations in developing gender-responsive strategy and budget?

Research Purposes

  1. To see how far the ability of civil society, including women, in influencing budgeting policy in their respective district and look at the increase of knowledge and skills of decision makers (the executives and legislative members) in implementing gender mainstreaming in relation to decision making process in implementing gender budget.
  2. To see what the obstacles are in the advocacy of gender budget in increasing women’s participation in the process of planning and budgeting through Musrenbang and how far these obstacles influence the advocacy.
  3. To get a comprehensive picture of gender-responsive advocacy process done by civil society organizations and see how far the process of local budget drafting and making engages and considers the needs of women.
  4. To urge the government and the local government to conduct dissemination to the public, through the published study results, of the fact that local gender budget is a need. 

Research Methodology


This study of the impacts of gender-responsive advocacy utilized qualitative research methodology. The purpose is to understand social, cultural, and political problems faced during the advocacy process. Because of that, an instrument or important tool which could be used to gather and understand the necessary data was in-depth interview through the perspective of advocates, including the advocates involved in budget drafting (civil society, local government officials, and legislative members).


Beside in-depth interview, field observation technique is also utilized to qualitatively evaluate the impacts of the advocacy program. Data collection is done by doing in-depth interview to 10 to 17 interviewees who are involved in gender budget advocacy in each research location. The purpose is to know the dissemination, participation, and social gender analysis knowledge in the process of drafting and budgeting and also in the monitoring process done by multi-stakeholders. The interviewees are chosen based on the categories of the executives, legislative members, NGOs, and NGOs assisted people. To strengthen the research instruments, the research team also conducts Forum Discussion Group (FGD) to know community groups’ aspirations. 

Research Location

The process of field data collection until draft writing takes approximately four months. The research is held in six districts which are Surakarta, Surabaya, Mataram, Kupang, Yogyakarta, and Makassar based on the consideration that NGO partners in each district or city has conducted gender budget advocacy. Besides, the NGOs in each district have also made connection with government officials at the executive or legislative level. Those who are engaged in the program advocacy contribute to the process of budgeting so that stages and impacts of such program can be identified. ***