The annual celebrations for International Women’s Day, which falls on Sunday, will see people marching through cities around the world for various battles: global, local and personal. More men are needed in these campaigns for better policies, attitudes and realities to ensure a safe environment for all genders, young and old.
Indonesia has a lot to celebrate on Women’s Day, such as the recent increase legal age of marriage, who is now 19 for men and women, compared to 16 for girls. While it took three women survivors of child marriage to finally win a second legal challenge to raise the age of marriage, officials and activists said we need more clerics, fathers and male civil servants , and other local male leaders to actively educate society about the harmful effects. child marriage.
Since the last legislative elections, we also have the highest female representation in the House of Representatives with more than 20%, 118 of the 575 legislators. The figure is still well below 30% women, which is considered the minimum necessary to enable gender-sensitive policies. Today, however, the relatively high number of women legislators is not celebrated in the controversial Family Resilience Bill, which is seen as an attempt to domesticate women rather than strengthen families. The latest bill only confirms what many have known since the start of the affirmative action campaign; that having more women legislators does not necessarily translate into gender-sensitive policies, and that women and men need intensive training on values that may differ from our patriarchal societies.
Therefore, we need bold men who are not afraid of being taunted when they advocate for policies and measures that are sensitive to the needs of various genders, including sexual and gender minorities. Similar Asian patriarchal societies, such as South Korea and Japan, can be among our models, to extend the rights to parental leave for fathers, currently still limited to civil servants, for example.
Despite this historic policy in 2018, Indonesian male officials may be reluctant to request one month’s parental leave for fear of being laughed at for breastfeeding the baby and taking care of the household chores. Changing attitudes takes time; South Korean private workers who took paternity leave were reported to have exceeded 22,000 last year, up 26% from the previous year.
Our normalization of violence against the weak has partial roots in the acceptance of even abusive male authority. The women’s movement in Indonesia has resulted in the enactment of the Domestic Violence Law, but the wide range of sexual harassment and violence outside the home remains unanswered. Once again, we see cynicism and the rejection of the bill to eradicate sexual violence in the House of Commons, particularly with regard to the reported fears of punishing men for telephoning.
Lawmakers only need to turn to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, which last year issued guidelines on preventing and managing sexual harassment and sexual violence in Islamic higher education institutions. The guidelines, which followed reports of endemic sexual harassment and abuse, even in Islamic institutions, show that the state recognizes a previously overlooked problem and the determination of male and female decision-makers to bring it together. Indonesia to ensure a human and safe society for all.