Activists to March in Jakarta to Demand Equal Rights for Women

Indonesian women's rights activists hold up posters during Women's March Jakarta last year. (JG Photo/Lisa SIregar)

By : Lisa Siregar | on 8:04 PM March 01, 2017
Category : Life & Style, Arts & Culture

Jakarta. Women's rights activists will participate in a march in Central Jakarta on Saturday (04/03), ahead of International Women's Day, which falls on March 8.

The Jakarta march is inspired by the one that took place in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 22 in protest of the inauguration of pro-life President Donald Trump, whose remarks about women's rights have made international headlines in recent months.

Naila Rizki Zaqiah of the Community Legal Aid Institute (LBH Masyarakat) said in addition to celebrating International Women's Day, the march in Jakarta will also be an act of solidarity with women worldwide who do not enjoy equal rights.

She said the idea for the march came from the Jakarta Feminist Discussion Group, a Facebook group that has been active for more than a year. The group claims to have more than 1,300 members from various backgrounds, including full-time activists, corporate employees and housewives.

"When we had our inaugural meetup last year, it was apparent that people from various backgrounds were interested in the movement. Our ranks include transgender people, disabled people and housemaids," she said.

Considering that it is the first women's march in Jakarta, the group reached out to several social organizations, including the LBH, PeaceWomen Across the Globe, Indonesian Women's Solidarity and Indonesian Women's Coalition, to launch a wider campaign aimed at achieving equal rights for women and minority groups.

"Us women activists have eight demands for the Indonesian government and people, all of which will be publicly stated during the march. We call for tolerance and diversity in Indonesia; we demand that the Indonesian government establish fair laws for gender justice; to end violence against women; to protect female workers; and to issue public policies that are friendly to women and minority groups, including the disabled.

"We demand that both the government and national political parties increase representation and involvement of women in politics, to end discrimination against those identified with the LGBT movement and to ask all Indonesians, not just those in government, to pay more attention to global issues that may affect women," she said.

The activists behind the women's march also plan to organize hearings and lobby government bodies and political parties to ensure that their demands are heard.

"The march is not the end. We hope to be able to hold public hearings during the entire month of March," Naila said.

She said the march organizers are inviting everyone with similar concerns to join the event in Jakarta, which will kick off in front of the Sarinah department store in Central Jakarta at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

The itinerary includes speeches by known female activists – including Musdah Mulia and Marinana Amiruddin – live music, a Balinese dance ceremony and live poetry reading performances.

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