Women's Economic Empowerment: It's not ideology, it's simple mathematics Women are drivers of change and development. Improve women's equality and you improve economic and social conditions for all. Investing in women by eliminating barriers to employment can increase productivity of the nation by 25%. Indonesia can be the seventh largest economy in the world by 2030, if the country nurtures all available skills and talents, especially those of its women.
Over the last 15 years Indonesia has experienced dynamic economic growth and, as a result, poverty has been cut in half from 24% to 11%. Women's economic empowerment can further reduce that number. On average, women spend 90% of their salary on their children and the health, education and well-being of their family, creating beneficial ripple effects throughout society. Men spend only 30% to 40% of their salaries so the ripple effect of their spending is much smaller.
What's the reality ? A disproportionate number of Indonesia’s poorest people are women. Around 6.5 million Indonesian women are illiterate, twice as many as men. Indonesian women represent just 20 per cent of middle managers and only 6 per cent of CEOs. Indonesia must do more to increase the participation and leadership of women at all levels if it is to fulfill the country’s economic potential.
What's our plan? Together with @UN_Women, @UNFPA, and other partners, we aim to engage both men and women leaders as advocates and agents of change to raise the profile of women in the workforce. #Planet5050UNIC Jakarta first organized an interactive forum for women leaders from different fields – government, business, arts and culture, journalism and social work – to provide personal testimonials on overcoming challenges and role models for success. The event commemorated the life and legacy of President Nelson Mandela, a great champion for equal opportunity and social justice.
UNIC Jakarta subsequently hosted a forum for male advocates for gender equality. The men in attendance discussed frankly the barriers they saw to women's full participation in the economy and made personal commitments on how they would help the women in their lives to achieve economic success. Forums with university students and business leaders will follow and will provide a platform for people to engage openly in discussions around gender stereotypes and how female and male role models can effect change in societal attitudes and become catalysts for the achievement of gender equality.
Women in Leadership Forum on Nelson Mandela International Day
Commemorating Nelson Mandela International Day on 18 July, UNIC Jakarta organized an interactive discussion on “Women in Leadership” emphasizing the need for gender equality in the workplace. In keeping with the theme for the Day – Take Action, Inspire Change! – over 40 successful Indonesian women leaders came together to speak candidly about the challenges facing women in the workplace and how they could contribute to women’s success and financial stability.
Opening the event, South Africa's Ambassador to Indonesia, Pakamisa Augustine Sifuba, said, “as a great champion for equal opportunity and social justice, Nelson Mandela was a firm believer that women’s rights are an integral part of a free society.
“His transformative leadership paved the way for women to defy the traditional roles once cast upon them. It created a space for women to assert leadership roles in government, business and community structures. It gave rise to the likes of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the first ever female Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, who is currently the Executive Director of UN Women; Frene Noshir Ginwala, the first female Speaker of Parliament, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and the first female Chairperson of the African Union, Gill Marcus, the first female Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Thuli Madonsela, the current Public Protector, among others."
Women leaders from diverse backgrounds, including entrepreneurs, civil society organizations, government, academia, media, art and culture, took part in the discussion. Using their personal stories to illustrate and model what was possible and achievable, they collectively provided striking role models for young Indonesian women to learn from. Determined to make their own contribution to changing the lives of others, the participants agreed that it was important to carry through on the theme for the Day – Take Action, Inspire Change! – by beginning at home, raising awareness with their families and loved ones about their own hopes and aspirations and making their voices heard.
Women leaders in business and in the corporate workforce agreed on the need to make their work environments more supportive of women, especially young women, who may be facing sexual harassment or discrimination. The rights of women with disabilities, who face additional discrimination, was also highlighted as an area deserving particular attention. Many participants raised the issue of including male voices in the fight for gender equality.
Nelson Mandela Dialogue Series Continues
Jakarta, 17 October - Over 25 successful Indonesian male leaders from fields as varied as the military and police, academia and social enterprise, media and the diplomatic community, came together to speak candidly about the challenges facing women in Indonesia: at home, in the workplace, in society and how each of them, as male advocates for gender equality, could contribute to women’s success and financial stability.
“I received a message on social media from a teenage girl,” said Henry Manampiring, author of The Alpha Girl’s Guide, a self-help book for Indonesian youngsters, “She asked me, ‘What’s the point of us women pursuing higher education, if we only end up in the kitchen?’”
The question really shocked him, said Manampiring, “This was an educated girl, with access to social media, so – young, urban and connected – yet she was thinking in this way that was limiting her own possibilities.” It was exactly this attitude and challenge that were the subject of an all-male interactive discussion on women’s economic empowerment organized by the United Nations as part of its Nelson Mandela Dialogue Series. The discussion, under the banner of the HeForShe campaign, was the second in the series, which aims to promote Sustainable Development Goal Number 5: gender equality, with a particular focus on economic empowerment and financial stability for women. The first interactive discussion was an all-female event designed to create an atmosphere of trust and frankness. The same applied to the all-male event, which allowed the group to be candid and non-judgemental about their own attitudes and biases. “My personal commitment will be to support my niece,” said Mario Vau of Elshinta, “She is a freshman in university and I want to stand by her and watch her back, ensuring that she knows women can do and achieve anything.” For Ronald Rohrohmana from Papua, currently working with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the commitment would be personal and organizational. “I want to support my wife to continue her professional ambitions, while also taking care of our young child; I want to support my mother to open a bookshop.” Organizationally, he committed to supporting more initiatives to benefit women in the areas of his Office’s work. Heru Kasidi, deputy minister for gender equality at the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, highlighted the need for men and women to work with the Government to effect change in gender stereotypes. “The mindsets and social values are the result of religion, culture, tradition and these are not going to change overnight. It will take time and advocacy and we all must work together to make it happen.” He invited the men in the room to join the Government’s efforts to achieve President Jokowi’s commitments to gender equality.
The HeForShe campaign, led by UN Women, is an inclusive approach that mobilizes people – male and female – to commit to a gender equal world. As a HeForShe Head of State, President Joko Widodo has committed to being a champion for the IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative, which is a three- to five-year pilot effort to advance and ultimately achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment through top-down change, engaging global leaders across three sectors: government, the private sector, and academia. President Jokowi is one of 10 world leaders that has committed to increasing the number of female parliamentarians, ending violence against women and reducing maternal mortality.
“The HeForShe campaign is not known at all in Indonesia,” said Iwet Ramadhan, head of sales at Mugi Rekso Abadi (MRA) broadcast media division. “We have to make HeForShe big in Indonesia,” he said promising to start a social media movement to raise awareness about the campaign, its objectives and to inspire men and women to sign up and publicly declare their commitment to the cause. Teguh Wicaksono, head of partnerships of Twitter, Aulia Assidik of the Indonesia Defense University, and Asep Nurisa Mahendra, head of broadcasting division of RRI, and Mr. Manampiring, said they would gladly join the social media outreach effort and amplify the message with their own networks.