On the first day of the TOT, Nihayatul Wafiroh, a deputy of commissioner of elections, shared her experience overcoming some of these challenges en route to her previous position as a member of parliament. While women do not have an equitable path to political office, Wafiroh talked about some of the ways that politicians can solve problems facing Indonesian women once they are elected.
In 2016, Wafiroh co-sponsored the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill, a proposed law that Indonesia’s House of Representatives is set to deliberate in 2018. Indonesia’s domestic violence prevention law and its penal code provide some protections from sexual violence, but the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill would bolster those protections. The proposed bill also puts a larger focus on the recovery of victims instead of concentrating solely on punishing perpetrators of violence.
Hayu Dyah Patria is a food security activist who participated in the TOT. Like many Indonesians, the growing divisiveness of politics had caused Patria to lose faith in government. However, she was invigorated by Wafiroh’s altruistic stance. “Prior to this training, I was very pessimistic about the political will of Members of Parliament, both male and female,” said Patria. “But from this training, I have new hope that good women leaders can be good politicians and fight for the rights of marginal groups.”
Achieving Peace through Security in the Family
In recent years, Indonesia has experienced an upsurge in sectarian violence. Using sessions in WLP manual Leading to Compassion, participants discussed the link between violence in society and violence in the home, and examined human rights through the lens of compassion. In the manual, women’s rights activist Charlotte Bunch writes that “for those who care about creating a non-violent society or want to end militarism and ethnic conflict, violence in the home undermines these goals.”
As part of this session, WYDII organized a visit to a public health center for women and children. These centers, which were established after the Elimination of Violence in the Household Law of 2004, promote the prevention of violence against women and children, provide health rehabilitation, and offer judicial protection, among other services.
One third of Indonesian women aged 15 to 64 years old self-report to having experienced physical and/or sexual violence in her lifetime, according to a Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry survey. These public health centers give victims of domestic violence a safe space to recover and allow allies to help them get justice.
Their visit to the public health centers inspired TOT participants to collectively mobilize against gender-based violence, with one university student remarking that she would write her thesis on eliminating GBV.
Building Capacity of Women Candidates
WYDII’s TOT participants have an excellent track record of reaching public office. At this year’s training, three returning participants had recently been appointed to leadership positions in politics. Another, Siti Hairiyah Latifah, went on win the election for head of the village of Kampunganyar in Banyuwangi, East Java Province as a member of the PDIP Party.
Latifah built her leadership capacity at the TOT and she credits WLP and WYDII’s grassroots approach to training for her successful campaign. “This TOT has sharpened my knowledge of and skills in politics, political parties, and the policy making process. Being in the TOT and being part of this wonderful group of women certainly has improved my confidence and performance in the party,” she said.
Testaments from TOT participants show that WYDII’s engagement with youth will continue to build the capacities of Indonesia’s leaders of the future. One participant reflected on the training: “My political horizon has increased so greatly that I feel that I can make the decision to run.”