International Women's Day 2017
Women’s March in Washington, US.
Credit: Ruth Fremson/New York Times
[OP-ED] Celebrating International Women’s Day of 2017, How Do Indonesian Women Fare Now Compared to A Decade Ago?

Today, on 8 March 2017 we celebrate International Women’s Day with the theme “Be Bold For Change”. The campaign asking for a equality for women has relentlessly been fought by some of the greatest activists on the planet and it has come to fruition in some countries. In this article we would like to spotlight some of the greatest achievements that all women, especially in Indonesia should be thankful of. In early 2017, the government have granted a bill for women in Indonesia to be paid equally as their counterpart and have instructed a mandatory manual for any corporate to oversee female’s outer appearance to give more spotlight to their merit instead. Women also have the right to refuse polygamy from their husbands even if the religion’s law allow men to do so. There is also an ongoing bill that has been discussed in the parliament to punish the perpetrators of rape case with the heaviest punishment in accordance with Indonesia’s law. Women are given a specific public transportation as their mere existence could induce sexual desire within men if they use the same vehicle. Sexual harassment level in this country has dropped to a whopping 70% due to the change on the country’s education system that teaches men to respect women. There’s also a light at the end of the tunnel for the LGBTQ community as their rights have finally been realized and it’s still a long way to go, but they are now protected under a strict law so they could fulfill their rights, just like other citizens in Indonesia.

International Women's Day 2017
Women’s March Jakarta

All of the aforementioned things above are sarcasm directed to our current situation, so if you’ve read it optimistically, we’re sorry to inform you that it is only a utopian dream. According to National Commission on Violence Against Women in Indonesia, in 2016 alone there were 321,752 violations in personal law including 1,657 rape cases, 1,064 abuse cases, and 268 harassment cases.  In the wake of International Women’s Day which falls today, an action and campaign titled “Women’s March” has been held on 4 March in Jakarta to fight for women’s and marginalized people’s rights in Indonesia. A community comprised of pro-female group discussion, students, youths, activists, private employees, and art workers demanded 8 points during their march. Those demands included non-discrimination against minority, manifestation of tolerant society and suppression of human right’s violation by the government; the creation of law and policy that grant justice for any genders, ratification for anti-sexual harassment bill, domestic workers’ bill, migrant workers’ bill and the refusal for amendment in adultery (zina) article on Indonesia’s criminal code; the awareness from the government in environmental issues in relation with female workers’ rights; policy and public service which are pro-women, pro-transgender individuals and pro-citizens with special needs; an urge for political parties to support women representation in the parliament in each region up to 30% from all the seats; the fulfillment for human rights for individuals and communities with differing sexual orientations; and encouragement for all of the citizens to pay more attention to women issues and the impact from international policies for women’s rights as the solidarity for women all around the world.

International Women's Day 2017
The march in Jakarta
Credit: Ni Nyoman Wira/ The Jakarta Post

As the term feminist could come off as very intimidating to some men with very sensitive minds, let us diminish the term in this article altogether. We could say that the movement is not about overpowering male or take over men’s dominant position in every aspect of life. It’s as simple as not letting your daughter be preyed upon by men just because she’s a woman. As easy as giving the same opportunity for women to pursue education, and as natural as letting women do what they want to do without any more prejudice or initial judgement. We also want to use this opportunity to salute every mothers and women out there who are strong, independent and bold. It’s time to be bold for change, and also time for others to embrace the change. Happy International Women’s Day!

International Women's Day 2017
Actress Dian Sastrowardoyo raising funds for scholarship program targeting female pupils via