Political changes in Indonesia in 1999 were marked by the fall of the New Order Regime, yet not followed by a paradigm shift. Even the “Reform Regime” which remains in power today, seems to be more of a continuation (improvement) of the New Order Regime. Reforms, marking “the surrender” of power from the hegemony of the dual functions of ABRI to political parties, only succeeded in carrying out general elections, but failed to carry out democracy. The introduction of liberal democracy has experienced bias, remaining a mere electocracy, which is controlled by oligarchic groups.
Therefore, aside from freedom of the press and the proliferation of political parties, the social and cultural landscapes have not changed. The idea of political aggregation, with the requirement of a 30% quota for women’s representation in parliament, seems to be perfunctory. The unwillingness of political parties to prepare their female cadres in parliament has resulted in them prioritising the “origin” of women when representing in parliament. It can be counted on two hands how many women in parliament correctly understand the problem of women in the social structure that is built in the neoliberal economic climate.
Problems faced by women (and children) has been a long-running issue, and there has been limited progress in these issues, even though the state has developed several regulations relating to the problem of women (and children). Looking at the socio-political developments that exist to this day, it can be predicted that in the next five to ten years the conditions relating to the problems of women and children will not change or at least have not shown signs of change.
Crucial Problems of Women and Children
Poor economic conditions impact women and children more, particularly in the lower classes of society – those who live in rural areas, sub-urban areas in the suburbs and in urban villages. The economic burden of the family which is not resolved by the main breadwinner (which in patriarchal culture is often played by men), results in double the burden for women. Mak did not want him to be forced by circumstances to address the problem of his family’s needs. Gradually, this kind of thing causes children to get less attention and care within their families. Coupled with the high “cost” of education, it will further encourage them to live a worse life (dirty, and in danger).
On the other hand, it is difficult in the public work sector, as men (often being the Head of the Household) are often faced with psychological pressures. Under these circumstances, he will also usually gradually vent his frustration at home – and his wife (woman) and children will become victim to this frustration. Domestic violence is very common in this situation.
In the demand to be able to meet the economic needs of the family as well, many women enter the public sector, whether as Domestic Workers (PRT) or through overseas migration into Migrant Workers. It should be noted, the entry of women into the public sector is not caused by increased cultural awareness to escape from the domestic sector, but because they are compelled or obliged. Like the above, children may gradually experience the same problem.
In the public sector, women are still not free from problems. Physical violence, psychological violence and rape can occur. Cases of violence in the public sector as above, are often found. Therefore, in addition to violence in the household (domestic violence) women also experience violence in the public sector. Similarly, children, in addition to the threat of domestic violence, they are also overshadowed by the threat of violence when they leave the house. Even schools that should provide security, in some cases have also shown the occurrence of violence – such as sexual harassment committed by teachers, and fellow schoolmates (violence among children which is fatal).
The Relevance of the Women’s and Child Protection Program
Seeing the above problems and their tendency to continue, other forms of action to protect women and children are needed. By considering the intensity and the number of cases that occur, direct action of handling cases in a practical way and short-term preventive measures become an urgent need. Parallel and integrated with this, a strategic program approach must be carried out in the context of change.
Family or group economic development programs are also worth considering. Lack of recognition of cultural factors will, instead of freeing women from the threat of violence, have the opposite effect – gender equality will not be achieved but instead plunges women into a double burden.
In the atmosphere of electoral politics, political institutions such as political parties, parliaments (central and regional) and the executive body are always busy with affairs from election to election. Therefore, matters of violence against women and children are not part of their agenda. That’s why the limits of policy advocacy must be realized. Only after changes in the regime, will it be useful to carve notes.
Objectives of Mitra Wacana
Mitra Wacana WRC, as an institution that cares about women’s issues, should be included in the actual problem, without ignoring long-term strategic matters. In carrying out its role, Mitra Wacana WRC will place its position as a medium, both in terms of insight (thinking) and as a social force. In its position as a medium of thought, Mitra Wacana WRC will become a bridge between the ideas of gender equality and egalitarianism, with the reality of a community base that is still laden with gender bias and the remnants of patriarchal culture. While in its position as a social force, Mitra Wacana WRC will take the role of direct action in the form of direct handling, interventions for prevention, and policy advocacy.
In this position, Mitra Wacana WRC is not acting in solitude, but also interacts with fellow institutions that share the same concern. Horizontally, it should establish relationships in the network. This is intended as a means to strengthen its position as a medium, and its expansion as a social force. Furthermore, the Mitra Wacana WRC programs will be designed based on the position focus as mentioned above. (YoS)