President Jokowi, for the new cabinet for the 2019-2024 period, appointed only five women ministers, of which three are incumbents, whereas two others are new faces.
The women ministers inaugurated on Wednesday, October 23, are Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar, Minister of Women Empowerment and Children Protection I Gusti Ayu Bintang Darmawati, and Minister of Labor Ida Fauziyah.
In the Working Cabinet for the 2014-2019 term, nine women had occupied ministerial positions in the early periods, and that number shrunk to eight since Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa resigned from her current position to serve as East Java governor.
“Looking at the previous term, Jokowi seemed to have a commitment towards gender equality and listened to any suggestions concerning the inclusion of women in his cabinet. However, now, there are only two new women of the total five,” Margret pointed out.
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The names considered ideal that sprung up for ministerial candidates are based on the president’s prerogative right to choose. However, in fact, it could be influenced by the parties’ recommendation.
Margret raised doubts on a possible compromise during the ministerial recruitment and being rife with political negotiation instead of recognition and commitment to have a better ministerial composition.
Commissioner of the National Committee of Women, Khatiroh Ali, also viewed this as a poor decision since several women were adept at taking on ministerial positions.
“There should be more women ministers for the newly inaugurated cabinet than before. It was not that difficult to look for the right women to occupy the position,” she stated.
Ali emphasized that the arrangement of the Indonesia Moving Forward Cabinet failed to reflect women’s representation.
“If the government wants to put the spotlight on Indonesia as a democratic nation, it should not be neglecting the matter of women’s representation in the parliament, executive, as well as judiciary sectors,” Ali stated.
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