International Women`s Day promotes women`s roles, reminds of challenges

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - March 8 is internationally recognized as the day that women all over the world are being celebrated.

Women are lauded not only for their nurturing and gentle nature but also because of the important roles they play in different aspects of life.

In Dec last year, President Joko Widodo had emphasized that women play a crucial role in national development.

"The Indonesia we love has developed in such ways, thanks to the role played by mothers, by women, all of them," he noted, while accompanied by First Lady Iriana in Serang, Banten Province.

Indonesia had surely advanced in terms of womens involvement in the government. The president noted that the country has the largest number of female ministers, with nine in office till date, followed by the United Arab Emirates with eight female ministers.

In Dec 2016, Vice President Jusuf Kalla called for an increased role of women in governmental entities, especially in strategic positions, which indicate that despite the achievement, Indonesia can take more efforts to further involve women in all of its sectors.

In business, the role of women continues to be promoted and encouraged.

It was previously reported that the business sector of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) had urged governments and private sectors to further encourage the empowerment of womens roles in societies.

"We encourage leaders to empower women," Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Rosan Perkasa Roeslani, said during the opening of Leaders Summit in Jakarta on Tuesday.

He stated that womens empowerment could be carried out by overcoming a number of obstacles of various aspects that can hinder women from taking leadership positions.

In 2015, the United Nations stated that many improvements have been registered in womens empowerment and rights all over the world, but discrimination and gender inequality continue to persist worldwide.

One of the problems that continue to be a challenge for Indonesia in particular is the increase in number of domestic violence towards women.

The National Commission on Violence Against Women (KOMNAS Perempuan) recorded a total of 259,150 cases of violence against women in 2016 alone.

Chairman of Monitoring Sub-Committee from the KOMNAS Perempuan Indraswari stated that the data was collected from 358 religious courts, which dealt with 245,548 cases throughout 2016, while the rest of 13,602 cases came from 23 organizations in all 34 provinces in Indonesia.

"Other than the dominant cases of domestic violence and physical abuses in relationships, there are also cases of violence against women by ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends. There are also physical abuses towards domestic workers," Indraswati stated in the Commission building in Jakarta on Tuesday (March 7).

The Commission urged the government to take more serious efforts in responding to cases of physical abuse against women, she noted.

In Dec 2016, Minister of Female Empowerment and Child Protection Yohana Yembise stated that a husband should not ever abuse his wife, no matter what the circumstances are.

Violence against women, including physical, sexual, and psychological abuses, can cause distress and depression in women, she added.

Force and threats in front of the public or in private spaces can also lead to trauma, she stated.

The high number of abuse and violence cases against women appears to have a contradictory effect on the promotion of womans role in the society.

Despite the progress that Indonesia had achieved, some parties seem to remain oblivious to the encouragement of gender equality and the dangers of abuse against women.

As the government is continuously being encouraged to take more serious efforts to tackle this issue, it is the job of the public itself to continue raising awareness towards fair treatment of women.

It is apparent that some parts of the community have realized this as on Saturday, March 4, local activists had gathered and organized the Womens March Jakarta 2017, in commemoration of the International Womens Day.

The International Womens Day serves as an excellent momentum to remind the society of the power of women and the roles they can play, which can then be carried on for years to come. (*)