Advocates for gender equality on Tuesday, 30 April, urged Indonesian men to listen more to women, investigate barriers to women’s economic empowerment and stand up beside women in advocating for equal access to economic opportunities.
At a session during the Katadata Conference called “Accelerating the Indonesian Economy Through Gender Equality,” speakers shared best practices in engaging men in gender equality conversations in the workplace, at home and in the society. They also share the benefits for men in doing so.
“The gender equality conversation needs to involve men so that there is no misperception in society about women and equality. It would be useless if advocacy for gender equality was carried out by women only, as we also need to address misconceptions towards women,” said Mariana Amiruddin, chair of Komnas Perempuan and one of the co-founders of Aliansi Laki-Laki Baru (ALB).
ALB, an alliance of women organisations that engage with men in promoting gender equality and Yayasan Pulih, organised the session as partners of Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian Government that promotes women’s economic empowerment in Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Myanmar.
“If we want to involve men, it is necessary to start from inviting them to apply new practices that are related to their daily lives. The point is to create new behaviour that is visible and scale up to become a new norm in the community, added Nur Hasyim, one of the founders of ALB, in his explanation on way of involving men in domestic area.
Author and advertising executive Henry Manampiring said “I attach the importance of equality, if someone cannot achieve what they aspire to, regardless of their gender, it harms all parties. To invite men to be involved in this issue and to change behaviour, we should also emphasise the benefits for men if they are involved in domestic roles.”
“Actually, there are many companies who are currently already implementing gender equality. Hopefully there are government regulations that also more sensitive to this equality issue, so that it becomes mandatory for a company to establish policies that are supportive for women”, Opal Media CEO Kokok Dirgantoro said.
The session marks the culmination of the #KitaMulaiSekarang Campaign, which in one year engaged more than 1.6 million urban millennial women and men with messages on normalising the role of men at home to help ease the double burden of family and work responsibilities that most women face.
The participants of the session came from various backgrounds and included a representative from the Indonesian Disability Women Association (HWDI), who also spoke about the need to consider the voices of men and women with disabilities, as well as the National Workers’ Union who voiced the issue of gender equality in the context of workers.
“Gender equality is inseparable from men and women. It is very important for us to encourage men to be involved in this issue. Our speakers today are a few real examples of how men can contribute to gender equality and I’m sure there are many men out there who want to participate” said Dian Indraswari, Pulih Executive Director.
Jane Pietra, Yayasan Pulih
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