JAKARTA—Indonesia could be missing out on USD 135 billion in annual gross domestic product (GDP) if it fails to address gender equality in six years, business leaders said Tuesday, as they urged both government and the private sector to ensure that women and men have equal access to and benefits from economic opportunity.
The figure—which is 9% more GDP than business as usual—is what Indonesia stands to gain if it achieves best-in-region scenario on gender equality by 2025, global consulting firm McKinsey estimated in a 2018 report cited by speakers at a conference titled “Accelerating the Indonesian Economy Through Gender Equality.”
“Gender equality is expected to boost GDP growth but how do we achieve it? All parties must participate—government, private sector and individuals,” McKinsey Indonesia Managing Partner Phillia Wibowo said at the conference. Tokopedia Chief of Staff Inna Chandika agreed, noting the change in mindsets required of women and men for gender equality to work.
GE Indonesia Government Affairs & Policy Director Donna Priadi in her talk highlighted the need for women to support other women as role models, mentors and sponsors. But men should also get involved by stepping up beside women to promote gender equality and by sharing domestic roles, Danone Indonesia Human Resource Director Evan Indrawijaya said.
Another plenary speaker, DEKA Marketing Research Deputy Managing Director Yanti Nisro Corbett highlighted the benefits of workplace gender equality, saying that when women are represented equally as men, especially in senior management, companies tend to be more dynamic and innovative. “Employee engagement is also higher,” she added.
The conference marks the completion of a year-long campaign on gender equality run by Katadata Indonesia with the support of Investing in Women (IW), an initiative of the Australian Government that promotes gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar.
Katadata Board Director Heri Susanto in his speech stressed the need for such campaigns, noting the disparity in the representation of women and men in Indonesian workplaces and in business. “There is evidence, however, that the digital age could be an opportunity to change this, with women increasingly independent and rapidly developing as entrepreneurs,” he said.
In his keynote, Mr Allaster Cox, Deputy Head of Mission at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta put Australia’s gender equality support for Indonesia within the context of broader economic cooperation between the two countries, highlighting the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) signed in March.
“As part of its role as Indonesia’s economic partner, Australia is supporting initiatives for gender equality that could leverage Indonesia’s own resources to generate growth and distribute the benefits to a larger number of its people,” Mr Cox said.
The morning plenary was followed by five parallel sessions, including “The Missing Voice in the Gender Equality Conversation,” a session led by Yayasan Pulih and Aliansi Laki-laki Baru, other partners of IW. The event was co-organised by the Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE) which IW supported.
Arie Mega Prastiwi, Lead Researcher, Katadata Indonesia
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