More than a thousand people participated in the Women's March Jakarta on Saturday (04/03) to demand equality for women and minority groups. (JG Photo/Lisa Siregar)

Women March in Jakarta to Demand Equality


MARCH 04, 2017

Jakarta. More than a thousand people participated in the Women's March Jakarta on Saturday (04/03) to demand equality for women and minority groups.

Dressed in pink and purple attire, the marchers gathered in front of the Sarinah department store in Central Jakarta at 9 a.m. before making their way to the State Palace. Speakers and performers included women's rights activists Siti Musdah Mulia and Mariana Amiruddin, while Bengkel Tari Ayubulan, Helga Worotitjan, Sisters in Danger, Melanie Subono and Mutiara Malika gave dance, poetry and live music performances.


In her speech, Musdah reminded everyone about Indonesia's founding principles of Pancasila, such as unity in diversity and respect for people with different beliefs.

"We are asking the government to eradicate violence by using religion. There is no place for discrimination for any reason, including religion," she said.

Even though the march is inspired by the US-based feminist movement in its response to the inauguration of President Donald Trump, Musdah said Indonesian women are joining the Jakarta march to fight for national issues that affect their lives.

She expressed concern about the growing number of incidents of religious intolerance and radicalism, which will eventually affect families and their domestic affairs.

"Indonesian women must unite to resist any form of violence, including that which is done in the name of any religion. We shall not let this country be taken over by a group of a certain religion," she said.

Aryani Arsyad from the Indonesian Women With Disabilities (HWDI) was critical of the fact that most Indonesian laws have yet to take gender equality into account, particularly for disabled women. She said the marriage law does not protect impaired women from polygamy.

"We should resist any form of sexual violence against women and disabled people at home, in school, at the workplace and in public spaces. And we should also stop the law that discriminates against disabled women," she said.

The march is part of a series of political acts held to celebrate International Women's Day.

A group of female activists gathered in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy on Thursday to condemn the visit of Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and demand justice for Indonesian female workers in his country.

Another march by female workers and the local organizing committee of International Women's Day will take place on Wednesday.