Women’s Rights Advocacy in Australia and Indonesia

Posted on 1 June, 2021

By Adeline Tinessia – AIYA Links Officer

The focus on the inequality and injustices suffered by women have become ever more pertinent.  In Australia, for example, 2021 has been marked with a greater shift of focus within public discourse towards the safety and basic human rights of women as well as the inequality that women suffer. A number of women marches took place in March of this year, following allegations of sexual misconduct in parliament. In Indonesia, a yearly women’s march has taken place for a number of years in commemoration of Indonesia’s hero of women emancipation, Kartini. The march symbolises the need for justice, gender equality and better protection of women in Indonesia.

These marches, however, are not the only way people are fighting for women’s rights. A number of advocacy activities take place, both in public and within backdoors, to fight for women’s rights. Advocacy can be defined as a set of organised activities designed to influence the policies and actions of others to achieve change. Many movements exist in both Indonesia and Australia that creates the space for more people to be involved in and become an advocate for the women’s rights movement.

The need for the women’s rights movement remains important within society. In Australia, for example, women are paid 17.5% less than men for doing the same work, and one in three women will experience violence in an intimate relationship according to the Australian Human Rights Commission. In Indonesia, an increasing number of sexual violence are reported each year, and a 2019 study has ranked the country the second-most dangerous place for women in the Asia-Pacific. These statistics are among many more worrying trends for women across the two countries.

With that in mind, the role of women’s rights advocacy in both countries remains important. For many of us in AIYA, there exists a space for members to be involved in the women’s rights movements across the two countries. But the path to advocacy may not be clear, and can be daunting, particularly when involved within a foreign country. Involvement within a women’s rights movement is not the only way of becoming an advocate: changing behaviours within ourselves and within our direct community are also necessary.

On 12 June 2021, AIYA Women’s committee will be hosting a seminar called Stronger Together: Advocacy of Women’s Issues in Australia and Indonesia. This event is set to discuss what are the tool-kits needed to become advocates of women in both Indonesia and Australia. How do we leverage existing movements? How do we become an advocate for women in everyday life? How do we raise and empower the voices of women to be listened to? What are some similarities and differences in advocacy in Indonesia and Australia?

For this seminar, we will be joined by Kate Walton, a human rights activist, writer and feminist. She lived in Indonesia between 2011 and 2019 where she co-founded Perkumpulan Lintas Feminis Jakarta (Jakarta Feminist). We will also be joined by Anindya Restuviani, a women’s rights advocate and co-director of Hollaback! Jakarta, part of a global movement to end harassment in public spaces.

This seminar will kick-off a series of workshops organised by AIYA’s Women Committee on women’s rights advocacy. Stay tuned on AIYA’s social media for more information and other events run by AIYA’s Women Committee.

To attend this seminar, register here.