Book Launching / Event

Published: 31/10/2011


In principal, the 30 percent quota system for women provides a special opportunity for women to enter the world of politics, refering to the concept of social and cultural disparity between women and men as political subjects, which is proven by the low rate of representation of interests in political life. The representation rate of women in formal political institutions both at the national and local levels is still too low, making it hard for women to influence policies and inspect the effectiveness of their implementation.

Kuota 30 persen sebagai ketentuan struktural untuk mekanisme peningkatan keberadaan perempuan di arena politik hanya akan bekerja efektif apabila diikuti dengan penggarapan sosial budayanya mempersiapkan perempuan untuk dapat mengisi peluang yang telah dibuka.

The 30 percent quota as a structural condition for an increase in women’s presence mechanism in the political arena will only run effectively if followed with a better administration of social and cultural aspects which prepare women to fulfill the available opportunities.


Presentation and Discussion

Opening by Edriana Noerdin, WRI Program Director

Women Research Institute (WRI) held a Seminar on Women’s Political Representation in the Face of 2014 General Elections. In that occasion, WRI also launched the first edition of the Affirmation Journal. The Affirmation Journal is to be published every six months.

Foreword by Sita Aripurnami, WRI Executive Director

The definition of the word “affirmation” is the support or boost which is to support efforts of improvements of society, particularly women. The Affirmation Journal is meant to be a place to develop feminist thoughts which will be used as a medium to publish researches based on the feminist perspective.

The first edition of the Affirmation Journal on Women’s Political Representation is a result of WRI’s research during the 2008-2010 General Elections. The launching of this Affirmation Journal is expected to be a starting point, taking into consideration that only three more years are left to the 2014 General Election and how women’s political representation can be made better.

WRI aims to be a partner in assisting the objectives of the affirmative action of other women activists, to increase the present 18% representation to 30% or even more.

Myra Diarsi, Moderator


The objectives of the Seminar and Journal Launching are to provide a fresh perspective and prepare political parties or the internals of the parliament itself, to enable women’s political representation to reach equality in order to make women’s political interests and voice heard and delivered.

The first speaker is Dr. Chusnul Mar’iyah, senate member of the University of Indonesia and lecturer of politics at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences University of Indonesia for 20 years; and Taufik Hidayat, member of Commission II and Vice Deputy of the Special Committee (Pansus) for the General Election Bill which monitors us in drafting an adequate regulation for the upcoming regulation.

Taufik Hidayat, Member of Commission II and Vice Deputy of the General Election Bill Special Committee
“The Urgency of the Politics Bill for Women”

There is a need of representation from the Special Committee of DPR-RI, where talks of the election are currently underway. This Special Committee is still in the preliminary process of gathering the public’s opinion by inviting Ms. Chusnul, regional visits, and visits to campuses to test the public draft made by DPR.

As vice deputy of the special committee, I was also invited by the political parties’ women wings to explain and talk about these issues. The result of the 2009 Elections which resulted in 18% representation of women is still considered far below the numeric expectation of 30%. Affirmation is used to boost that number as well as related to the options of the election system. Although the current election system showed a positive turnout of 18% electability of women, which increased from the past election, another election system should be considered in order to reach the 30% number.

The Golkar Party handles ideas on the mix member proportional (MMP). MMP’s access to affirmative actions will be better measured and realized in order to reach 30% or at least close to it, as within MMP there are a number of DPR members who are elected as well as suggested by the political parties. Affirmation could also be carried out in align with the weaknesses of the current system for positions suggested by the political party. The system which provides free competition does not provide incentives for political workers at the political party. From the time aspect, political workers of the party are less superior to the legislative candidates who are only functionaries of the party yet are equipped with better and more resources, especially compared to the political workers who are usually campus activists or youth activists. As a result, there is a lack of DPR-RI members coming from activist backgrounds.

Thus, the issue of legislation –which is in fact an important function of the parliament– shows the low interest for membership in DPR. People tend to think that it is sexier to be a member of the Budgetary Board than a member of the legislation board, as in the latter they are expected to draft the laws, think and debate under tension and a very short time, as every week a minimum of two laws must be finalized. That is one of the consequences of a political system choice. However, even if the options remain the same with the current ones – which showed an increase in trend – it should be appreciated although the achievement of 18% should be maintained and increased.

The electability of women in Golkar is higher due to the individual manouvers from women. The party has a women’s wing named KPPG (United Women of the Golkar Party) yet it is not strong enough to bargain the structure of Central Board in realizing this quota. There was a suggestion that in electoral areas with 30% women, women are placed in the first number. This is actually legitimate but if it is made into a regulation, it will fail to adhere to the majority votes. The majority vote system is a regime that goes beyond the electoral number system. If made into a law, it will create a mix and match stigma with this regime. But if it is a policy decided by the party’s internal board then realized into the partnering of legislative candidates, it cannot be avoided and is possible to be carried out.

Myra Diarsi


What is the crucial, or interesting, debate within the Special Committee for the Election Bill and the Political Party Law regarding the 30% resistance, open system and electoral number. Where is the actual resistance centered on?

Taufik Hidayat

There is no resistance from the party, as the affirmative action and 30% are already within the party’s common sense. It is just that the ratified Political Party Law was criticized by the Women’s Coalition, who targeted 30% women to enter all levels of the management, including in the regency. Considering the bigger picture of the political system, this is impossible to fulfill. It will be difficult for, say, Islamic parties to recruit 30% women in Bali. When it cannot be carried out, resulting in a disappearance of Islamic-rooted parties, then there will be no democratic channel for Islam – which is a majority – within the political system. As a result, it may cause movements outside the system.

In the perspective of the system, apart from the existing structures and ideologies, it is also as important to provide a democratice room to realize an equal system and good cooperation. The General Election Law is still in the stage of starting this work, and the debate is yet to happen, so it is indeed suitable to start discussing its mentoring, in order to match with the discussion process at the DPR.

Chusnul Mar’iyah, Ph.D, Lecturer of Political Science, FISIP Universitas Indonesia
“Opportunity of Regulation to Optimize Women’s Representation”


Lesson Learn 2004, 2009 and Preparation for 2014 Elections
How does the regulation regulate stages for women to enter? Regulations may seem gender-neutral, but in fact sometimes we cannot find a way through those very tricky regulations. Hence, we lose the opportunities enabled by the 30% affirmation, which seems adequate on paper but is different in execution.

Every five years, there are always new laws and regulations regarding the elections and political parties. The Special Committee should avoid totally changing them because then a single balance can never be achieved. The important points to be changed are, for instance, the election system which only discusses proportion, or the mixing of the district and a percentage of the mixed member system proportion; maybe 20:80 or 50:50. But remember the time constraints for the drafting of the laws and regulations.

The important issues to be observed and inserted include the appointment of women within the General Election Commission, because the people who will monitor all the regulations are also women. Housewives or the like from the regency/city level should be prepared if they are qualified or able to execute, so that regulations which benefit women could also be prepared.

Starting from the system, it can be translated into not only a proportional system, mix member, district, or the like, but into how much portion there should be for each electoral area. Our Law mandates a proportional system. In political science, the more seats there are in a proportional system, the more represented a certain group is. But when it comes to women, if we use a district system, then the female candidates will be destroyed because they have to face men head-to-head in competitions in their respective electoral areas. Finally in KPU, we decided 6.12, hence we have 2057 electoral regions in 2004. In 2009, we wanted to continue with the determination of electoral areas as many KPU members still fail to understand the concept of electoral areas. There are consequences for electoral areas about how conflicts are conducted, and how we fight to win. Head-to-head is usually difficult. Comparing to other countries in the world, the more gender-friendly election system, where women are more accommodated, is the proportional system because women are not required to ‘fight’ in the district areas but only in the internal structure of the party.

Countries that use the proportional system to determine its representative proportion have a far better representation of women, with Rwanda being the country with the highest percentage of female parliament members (57%). The next issue is how to place women. In 2004 this was not yet regulated. In 2009, we were placed between number 1 and 3. Women should be placed there. Actually, we asked for 50% at number 1 and 3. Maybe that is an alternative that could be done. In 2009, it seemed that the majority votes were considered as the best solution, but in 2014 we must be more careful if there are no regulations or it still uses the same system. The majority vote solution is difficult to be carried out because in the 2009 Elections, the candidates who gained the most votes were mostly those with electoral numbers between 1-3. It is also important for us to consider that the psychology of voters in entering the ballot boxes, their point of views, and their difficulty in memorizing numbers 6-8. If there are no women at all placed in numbers 1-3, it will be burdensome in 2014 because of the party’s internal struggle in the discussion of the candidates’ electoral numbers. The small numbers (1-3) are still an influential factor in the electability of both male and female candidates. Therefore, in the electoral areas, women’s position is highly imperative.

Electoral numbers for legislative candidates are still important. In 2004 people disagreed with majority vote. It will be more suitable to have 30% DPP to make it more significant. When the voices are only 11.000, 230.000 DPP is too little. There should be a struggle here to have women respected. 

It is important to have capable female legislative candidates in the party. We must prepare trainings for them because some have not even once raised their hands in five years. Even to raise hands, a raising hand exercise is recommended in Commission II. This is a huge homework.

If women do not take a place in the legislative candidate recruitment team, it is possible for women to be forgotten, and only men will be remembered. Therefore, women must take part in the team. If there are no women in the Branch Board (DPC) or secretariate in the organizational structure, women will not be invited to the congress. How can we call for female candidates when we have no counterparts in the party’s decision-making board and all our colleagues only ‘play’ by the side. Therefore, grabbing positions in the strategic structure becomes greatly urgent.

In the planning of 2014, the executing stages of the election will take 30 months. I think it will be too long if the public are forced to follow the election preparation for 30 months. In Australia, for instance, it is only 36 days. The 2004 election campaign was only approximately three months to one month. In 2009 the campaign was 11 months – draining the funds. Campaigns that are too long are exhausting – it is better to make a 3-week campaign. The 2009 Bill spent a lot of money, and one of the weaknesses of women is the lack of funds.

Women must choose parties that are included in the parliamentary threshold (PT). There was  a qualified KPU member from Nganjuk but because her party PKNU was not included in the parliamentary threshold. As a result she was unable to enter Jakarta. The strategy should be understood by the female activists. How much is the parliamentary threshold? Just 30%, do not kill small parties. But previously the objective was to the level of 4-5 parties.
Political parties should own their own polling institute to avoid spending too much budget on a certain polling institute, thus enabling them to equip their female or male legislative candidates with further education. Subsequently, women can also participate to the internal party. A campaigning period of 11 months is too hard for women with money politics and limited spending; usually they run out of budget on the seventh month.

In addition to the importance of political education for female and young voters, we must also realise the necessity of the special education on women-related policies. This is the role of WRI. Politics of presence in DPR is indeed important, but we cannot disregard the politics of ideas – of what we are fighting there, either specific on women, relationship between men and women, social development, or others. If we want to join DPR, it is better to be an expert in a specific topic to be more focused and sharp, for instance in issues of health, education, and girls in conflict areas. Do not settle with being anything because that is part of the politics of presence.

Myra Diarsi

Both speakers have provided a very clear description that entering the parliament is very fair and free – and much determined by the power residing there. From the Golkar case, it is found that it depends on individual acts and capacities, and is yet to be supported by organized or comprehensive efforts.

Details of the execution and election are full with traps that will be returned to whoever the cultural winner is, and who controls the material and sociocultural resources. The efforts in the party itself are something that supply us with extraordinary information, both outside and inside the election system, preparing us better to monitor these matters in a more detailed manner. This is now your opportunity to offer your comments regarding this issue or ask questions.

Questions and Answers

Syamsidah Siregar, PAN

Electoral districts should be decided from the beginning and not in the end. Currently, there are 3-10 proposals. How many electoral district proposals are there? What are they? What motivates political parties to propose 4% on parliamentary threshold counting? Is this because they are in search of representation or is this because the big parties want to stop small parties from joining the election so that the resistence during the election is not great
We expect that the general election in 2014 will comply with society’s norms in which women’s political education is compulsory. Yet, the most important thing is to have women’s affirmation and political participation. These strengths should unite to ensure that women’s voices are voiced. If we don’t use electoral numbers, how will it impact women?    

Lena Maryana Mukti, Deputy Secretary of DPP-PPP


The condition of political parties and the experience in political parties and parliaments reveals that intervention of regulations is easier done internally rather than externally, in the parliaments. Internally, we can consolidate women activists and this has sucessfully been done. The journey from 1999-2011 when PPP conducted its congress, it was more progressive than what has been achieved by Law No.2 of 2011 on Political Parties. Earlier in 2008 when I was a member of Election Bill Special Committee, I had delivered my opinion that the 30% in Political Parties Law should not be made in the structure of political parties. Instead, the 30% should be made for ‘daily’ section of the political parties because the decision-making process of the political parties is done during that ‘daily’ section.

When the 30% is allocated in the structure of political parties, women will be placed in bureaus like women bureaus, welfare bureaus, social bureas, and the likes. Until 2011, the struggle did not suceed, and thus activists, especially the ones from PPP, changed their direction to do internal intervention in their parties. Other than PPP, PKB has also done it. It is clear that PPP utilizes a good strategy since PPP has included the intervention in its deliberation rules and regulations. In PPP, a party highly associated with conservatism, currently there are 55 heads of regions, heads of branches, secretaries of regions, secretaries of branches in which all of them are women. This is a great achievement. In cooperation with Ansipol and Women’s Parliament Caucus of the Republic of Indonesia, we establish Women Working Groups and share something like commission. We also conduct roadshows for political parties to create 30% rule in political parties’ internal structure.  

A Golkar figure stated that we do not need the current 102 women in the parliament. What we need is 68 women we previously had in the parliament because the 102 could not speak up when compared to the 68 women in parliament. This backfired us. This criticism towards the parliament is indeed not only directed toward women. In fact, it is also directed towards the men.

From 30 current members of the special committe, there is no female member coming from Partai Demokrat and PDIP. There are 2 members out of five members from Golkar. PPP has no member because it only won 2 places for men. PKB has one female member in the special committee. From 30 members of the special committe, there are only 3 women, whereas previously we had 12 females members who are very critical from the total of 50 members.  

Law No.2 of 2011 has been approved and the 30% quota can no longer be used in the internal structure of a party. When being discussed in the working committe, there were members of Commision II who did not not know that the law wa going to be enacted. Upon its approval, we, the activists, urged the legislative body to have a special committe instead of discussing it in Commission II because the members of Commission II were comprised of people from various Commissions.  

When discussing about election, we talk about 1 out of three. We propose 1 proposal out of 3 proposals related not to regime but to law’s structure which act as a unity, its system is a proportional semi-inclusive system. The participants of the election join the party lists and thus they make the electoral numbers. Even though it is stated that accountability with the constituents is very important that they made 30% DPP, yet in a blink of eye, this was annuled by the Constitutional Court even when the affirmation is the electoral numbers. If we knew that the majority vote would be used, we would not have proposed 1 out of 3, but we would have proposed that the Number 1 and Number 2 legislative candidates should be comprised of male and female candidates. This is realistic. I’d like to ask your support as my good brother.  

Regarding sanctions, it feels like a sword with two sharp edges. During the making of the previous law, incentives and disincentive have been proposed. If the position is won by men, the incentive is 25 million while it is 50 million of incentive when women win. This proposal was not pleasing for women. The rule stated in Article 55 should not be ommitted; instead, it should be reformulated to accomodate the rule that Number 1 and Number 2 legislative candidates should be comprised of male and female candidates and that 30%, 50%, and 75% quota should not be used anymore. First, why the electability of Number 1 and Number 2 that is choosen? It’s because our political system is still like this instead of a district election or head-to-head ones. Second, political education has not worked which makes our people unaware of who they are going to choose. They only know number 7, 8, or a governor’s children, regent’s children, or celebrities. With this current system, the electability of Number 1 and Number 2 is higher than the numbers that come after 1 and 2. This is only temporary affirmation in the form of quota until we reach a balance of the number of men and women.

Taufik Hidayat

It is very important to guide the administration stage of political parties’ rules and regulations. To suceed in making a decision in RAPIM in selecting legislative candidates, there should be an element of Golkar’s Women Union (KPPG) to choose electoral districts, electoral numbers, and the like. This is a specific condition from Golkar. They have such team to make decisions.  

The implementation of PT is assumed to kill small parties. This is something that is not understandable. Small parties die not because of the regulation, they die because of their own internal problems. Internal conflicts worsen things for them, especially for political parties emerging during the reformation era, they don’t develop a good system. In that kind of situation, a good institution is hard to achieve and the political parties also find it difficult to grow bigger. The implementation of PT is actually based on the interest of political parties supporting 3-4 PT and is therefore aimed at simplifying parties in creating compatibility between presidential system and simple multiparty system. Currently, what we have is presidential system with parliamentary ‘taste’.

The members of special committee from political parties understand how much district magnitude is appropriate for their parties, especially on how to arrange the distribution of electoral districts based on the counting method. The determination of electoral districts depends on the chosen district magnitude.

It’s not a problem for several parties who consider Golkar’s 30% zipper system as an ideal common sense to pay for the nation’s civilization loss. We can always talk about whether this is already made into a regulation or is just merely a norm.   

Chusnul Mar’iyah

Very often our friends in political parties think that presidential theory means that there should be two political parties. In its implementation, this should be made contextual and we have to be especially careful since our nation’s construction is based on plurality. The first time, we had three political parties for 32 years. January 1999 was the day when we opened civil society where we had 141 parties. This means that our society is still learning. In Turkey, they have 10% PT, but Turkey is relatively homogen; Kurd, Turkish, and Armenian. The kurd and Armenian were opressed leaving Turkish ideology to get stronger and stronger. In Indonesia, we have religious parties; PPP, PKB, PKS, PAN, but we cannot directly set 5-9% for them.

A system is culturally, politically, and socially constructed. Say we make an Indonesian-style presidential system theory, political parties with votes but cannot enter People’s Representative Council (DPR) will be disadvantaged. PDI-P claimed that in Central Java, its electoral district, PKB benefitted the most. Whereas, in East Java, it was PDI-P that is benefitted the most. Because of this, it is a need to colect the data of 257 electoral districts in several districts (2004) regardless of whether they will benefit from it or not.

PAN will get 100 seats, so we asked for 100 electoral district. What number will enable PAN to enter DPR? It will likely be number 10, 11, 12, and 2 in West Sumatera and Aceh. PBB has a Number 1 electoral district in Bangka Belitung and NTB.  When we use district system, the weakness will be that the winner takes all. In 1999, women activitsts asked for a 30%. Even inside political parties, we lost because the 30% was not there. There were three articles concerning political parties’ structure, yet because there was no single mention of 30%, they were invalid. We try to keep political parties inside the formulating team in order to prevent the articles from being erased. Panwaslu and even Bawaslu are actually not needed because they are very costly. It’s better to use the money for dissemination. The funding should be given to civil society.

Taufik Hidayat

The interests of political parties in this law depends on the perception of the parties’ elites. This law is expected to be finished in February, but now it seems like it will be delayed for 1-2 months.

Chusnul Mar’iyah

Heads of the Election Supervisory Committee (Bawaslu), the General Election Commission, and the Constitutional Court must make an MoU which states that Bawaslu cannot act as a witness in an election dispute, unless asked by the Constitutional Court. We have to strengthen KPU and provide KPU with trainings such as 2005 KPU planning when we visited Commission II for trainings. 

We don’t need Bawaslu? Is monitoring Bawaslu’s only product? Civil Society Organization, media, the public, and DPR do the monitoring at the same time, so who monitors Bawaslu? We have to strengthen KPU. We have already established a cooperation with AEC and USAID on how to train KPU’s bureaucrats for a year in Australia and a year in Indonesia for Master’s Degree programs specifically on KPU.

Taufik Hidayat

The improvement in KPU should start from the recruitment process as we have learned from the previous experience that the problem was with the recruitment commission. Among the chosen recruitment committees, I only know one. It became a problem when we recruited unsuitable people. It’s better for the selection team to report to the DPR about the selection stage.

Syamsiah Ahmad

A research won’t change people’s mindset. The Pancasila or Five Principles, UN Charter, the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia have long existed. The same thing with CEDAW. However, the majority of men still questions “Why should women enter politics?”. When it is related to women, gender skill is required. We can also relate this wih gender studies program.

We need to have a wide context. The importance of research and skill in gender equality and justice is undeniable. We also have center for gender studies. We propose to the Ministry of Women Empowerment to change the name from “wanita” to “perempuan”. Law on Gender Equality and Equity is being discussed in DPR.

Talking about politics, it is about power to serve the people. To gain power, we need to be ‘clean’, yet right now it is not ‘clean’ since we are still learning. We make mistake and we need to improve ourselves. When we want to serve, we have to know whom we serve. This is where gender is. Our people are constituted of men and women. God creates man and women different. They speak of human rights because they have equal rights in public decision and position.  

31 years ago in a UN’s Forum, a guy asked “What do women want?”. Back then, as a representative of women division, I answered, “Sir, don’t forget. All of you come from here and life begins in the body of a woman.” In that, we see that differences are real. Women are meant to experience menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, and breast-feeding. Because of that, women have different knowledge, experience, and point of view compared to that of men. This is a value needed to serve the people. Women have different health and education needs than men. 

Indeed, we need 30%. That is the decision of the UN based on the world’s gender standar and Indonesia is bounded by it and CEDAW since Indonesia is the member of the UN. Quota is a special treatment. Dormitory for female students whose house are very far from their schools is another example of speacial treatment that illustrates the many numbers of CEDAW’s guidelines.

The UN and IPU have made a book for DPR in 2003. The book has beeen translated into Bahasa Indonesia, but is there a member of DPR who has read the book on how DPR should act and fight for gender equity and equality?

Taufik Hidayat

Before I deliver my message, I highly advise everyone to get closer to women activists. I am delighted and I prepare myself to be the aspiration channel for WRI and other women activists.

Chusnul Mar’iyah

In the beginning, we discussed the politic of the presence and how to increase women’s participation in decision-making process in parliament. If we want to learn how to be a parliament member, we have to learn how to speak. In French language, parliament itself means talking.

We started as activits when we talked about the politic of ideas. Therefore, it is important to get involved in decision making. In the context of political science, authority is differentiated in the context of power over. Power over is more masculine and is accociated with men. Power to do is, on the other hand, more about the power to do something. When talking about the politic of the presence, the politic of ideas is still the part of the politic of the presence. How can we help the youth to be the future leader of the country?

Myra Diarsi


We have succeeded in having a lively discussion which is also very substantial. Everyone will get a copy of the published journal. We invite everyone’s participation and inputs for the next journal. WRI welcomes submission of articles or research findings from everyone.***