United Nations Development Program Indonesia country director Christophe Bahuet, left, and UNDP Indonesia sustainable development goals adviser, Ansye Sopacua, at the 2016 Human Development Report launch in Jakarta on Wednesday (22/03). (JG Photo/Sheany)

Gender Inequality in Indonesia Limits Advancement, Progress: UNDP


MARCH 23, 2017

Jakarta. Gender inequality in Indonesia is the main impediment to achieving global sustainable development, according to a report released by the United Nations Development Program on Wednesday (22/03).

According to the 2016 Human Development Report, there is a large disparity between the progress of men and women over the past 27 years. The systematic exclusion of women living in poverty further exacerbates gender inequality globally.

The  Human Development Index is calculated each year by the UNDP as a summary indicator of human development per country, and of men and women specifically, by combining data on life expectancy at birth, adult literacy, educational enrollment and average income measured as gross domestic product per capita.

According to the report, Indonesia marked an overall increase in the HDI over the past 27 years, where an upward trend was seen across the board in all the main categories listed in the index.

However, when the HDI of Indonesian women was measured against Indonesian men, the former scored 0.660 while the latter, 0.712. The values are between zero and one, and a greater HDI score is achieved when the lifespan, education level and gross domestic product per capita is higher.

"Human development for everyone cannot be achieved if half the population is held back," Ansye Sopacua, UN sustainable development goals adviser at UNDP Indonesia, said in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Ansye noted that women face a multitude of issues as a result of gender inequality, which in turn affects their life cycle. For example, Ansye explained that girls who have limited access to education or who do not have access at all, consequentially have diminished employment opportunities. As a result, this affects their access to health care services and pension later on.

"One way to tackle [gender] inequality is through entrepreneurship training and having a greater representation of women in the House of Representatives," Ansye said.

Inclusive public policies and specific strategies to address gender inequality are needed to achieve global advancement, Ansye said.

Ansye also highlighted ways to foster inclusive growth: by creating jobs that cater to people from all socio-economic backgrounds; increasing opportunities for women by encouraging entrepreneurship; organizing community-based activities for young girls and women outside of their homes; providing subsidies that benefit women specifically; and implementing affirmative action policies such as a quota system to increase women's participation in the workforce. 

In Indonesia, women’s participation in the government remains low, at 17.1 percent. By comparison, in the Philippines, the percentage of women in the government is higher, at 27.1 percent.

"Gender inequality is very striking in the case of Indonesia [...] the report reinforces the need for action against inequality backed by the government's commitment to tackle gender inequality issues," UNDP Indonesia country director Christophe Bahuet said.