Published: 06/01/2014

The Indonesian People’s Representative Council (DPR-RI) has issued a National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) and inserted the Gender Equality and Equity Bill in the 2012 Prolegnas’ list of Priority Bills1. DPR-RI targeted to ratify the Gender Equality and Equity Bill before their tenure ends in mid-2014.

Since its informal introduction to the public, the Gender Equality and Equity Bill has caused public debates between those who are in favour of and those who are against its ratification based on various perspectives, including religious beliefs2. The Women Research Institute (WRI) supports the parliament’s initiative by carrying out a policy research to identify problems and provide politically realistic policy recommendations for the Gender Equality and Equity Bill, which is currently under discussion in DPR-RI. WRI will also specifically focus its attention on several points that are considered as the key to similarise perception on gender equality and equity.

Until today, only very few researches have offered comprehensive recommendations on the drafting and discussion of the Gender Equality and Equity Bill in Indonesia, particularly from the viewpoint of its impacts on women in the political and public spheres. Whereas, in strengthening women’s political representation, dedicated proof-based advocacy work with extra-parliament groups, i.e. civil society organisations and political parties, is needed. Therefore, it is important to have the political representation of women DPR-RI members and the power of civil society organisations in issuing gender-responsive policies – in this context, the Gender Equality and Equity Bill.

Aims of Research

The aims of WRI’s policy research are as follows:

  1. Identify gender-responsive policies concerning existing women’s political representation and its implementation for women’s lives in Indonesia.
  2. Present an overview on the relation between the political representation of women DPR-RI members and the drafting of gender equality and equity.
  3. Identify problems and opportunities that will support the introduction of the Gender Equality and Equity Law with the hopes to protect and fulfil the essence of gender equality in Indonesia.

Research Questions

WRI’s policy research is guided by the following research questions:

  1. How is the current form of women’s political representation in the representation system of Indonesia? And how does women’s political representation work?
  2. What is needed to strengthen women DPR-RI members’ political representation, to enable them to change their political representation to a substantive representation?
  3. In regards to the effort to enhance the substantive representation of women DPR-RI members in Indonesia concerning gender equality, what policies needs to be adopted and implemented by the DPR-RI in Indonesia?

Significance of Research

The outcome of this research can be used to assist DPR-RI members in understanding the gender equality and equity in a more comprehensive manner. By reviewing all the issues and perform an analysis on the existing policies, we can identify the form of gender-responsive policies that Indonesia needs. The outcome of this research can also be used as a recommendation for DPR-RI members that are currently discussing the Gender Equality and Equity Bill, so that Indonesia can have a policy under the prevailing laws that is able to push for equality between men and women.

Limitation of Research

In conducting this research, WRI used a qualitative methodology with particular limits as the logical consequence of the aims of this research. The limitation of qualitative researches is the generalisation of data as a consequence of the limited number of informants. WRI used a quantitative method as a generalising principle of the public on women’s political representation based on the qualitative findings. The limitation of the quantitative methodology is that it does not show the depth of the public’s opinion on women’s political representation.

The scope of this research is limited to the national parliament (DPR-RI) concerning the gender-responsive policies that they have issued. This research particularly analysed the policies related to women’s political representation and gender equality.

Methodology of Research

This policy research seeks to analyse whether the existing policies are running effectively and what policies are needed to strengthen the implementation of those policies. This research also aims to capture the voices and experiences of Indonesian women by way of analysing various efforts that have been carried out by women DPR-RI members in performing their roles and functions. The collection of data is conducted using the quantitative and qualitative methods that reciprocally strengthen the findings and analyses.

Quantitative Method

The quantitative method was carried out through a survey on the knowledge, attitude, and behaviour of constituents in Indonesia. The surveys were carried out using an omnibus method in 33 provinces in Indonesia and taken by 1,200 respondents. With that amount of sample, the estimated margin of error is 2.8% — the difference between survey results and population is 2.8 percent. The sampling technique used was multistage random sampling.

Qualitative Method

The qualitative method was conducted by way of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions (FGD). In-depth interviews were carried out with DPR-RI members, both men and women, from nine fractions. WRI contacted DPR-RI members that had corresponded with WRI in previous researches4. From the corresponding process, WRI conducted a snowballing technique, which is asking them to recommend the names of other informants.

The group discussion was divided into two groups, namely civil society organisations and political party officials. Participants of the discussion from the civil society organisations come from organisations experienced in carrying out policy advocacy or connected to the parliament’s work. Meanwhile, the informants from the nine political parties are those who are within the executive board in the sectors of recruitment, organisation, and women empowerment.

Literature Review

This method covers the collection and analysis of documents relating to the research’s conceptual framework, other researches that are relevant to the topic of this research, theories of representation, concepts of gender equality and equity law, media coverage on the current condition of the gender bill, as well as reports of DPR-RI’s relevant meetings and plenary sessions.

By: Women Research Institute 2013

1. See Badan Pembinaan Hukum Nasional, Daftar Program Legislasi Nasional Rancangan Undang-Undang Prioritas Tahun Anggaran 2012 (Jakarta: Kementerian Hukum dan HAM Republik Indonesia, 2012).
2. The Jakarta Post, Gender Equality Bill Opposed by Women, (June19, 2012); The Jakarta Globe, Indonesia Islamists Stall Gender Equality Bill, (May 9, 2012);
3. Karen Celis and Sarah Childs (2008) stated the actors that could push for women’s substantive representation are women’s policy agencies (female parliamentarians, executive boards, and ministries) as well as women’s movement actors (civil society organisations and political parties).
4. See, Women Research Institute. Women DPR-RI Members and The Public Policy Making Process: The Amendment of the General Election Law. (Jakarta: 2012).