Gov. candidates snub women’s issues discussion
The contenders: Jakarta General Elections Commission (KPU Jakarta) chairwoman Dahlia Umar holds a sample ballot for the gubernatorial election in July. The commission will begin distributing around 7 million ballots and election material on July 1. JP/Wendra AjistyatamaWhat was planned as a discussion on what women voters want from their future governor turned into a monologue, with none of Jakarta’s gubernatorial candidates attending an event held at the National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) on Thursday.
Initiated by nine organizations, including the Women’s Institute, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS), the Indonesian Women’s Coalition, activists from rape survivors group the Lentera Indonesia Foundation and Peace Women Across the Globe (PWAG) Indonesia, the event aimed to understand the candidates’ perspectives, since none of them had prioritized women’s issues in their campaign promises.
“Jakarta’s women population is higher than men’s and women are more likely to vote. We want to know their opinion on women’s issues before we vote,” said Nia Syarifuddin of the Bhinneka Tunggal Ika National Alliance (ANBTI), regretting that only Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, running mate of Surakarta Mayor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, was in attendance.
Komnas Perempuan chairperson Yuniyanti Chuzaifah pointed to several women’s issues, ranging from the state’s responsibility toward victims of violent political riots in 1965 and 1998 to current problems in the city, like sexual violence, layoffs, domestic workers and evictions.
“Jakarta, as a model of other cities in Indonesia, should be a gender friendly city,” she said, adding that the number of violent incidents against women in private and public areas was still high.
Other activists mentioned environment, education and health issues that were usually not covered well in the city because of the administration’s lack of commitment.
Ahok said that, if elected, he would implement a network system used by his administration when he was a regent in East Belitung.
“I will give my private cellphone number to everyone and optimize communication with neighborhood unit leaders to monitor the residents,” he said, adding that he knew all about people’s problems, including domestic violence, from complaints received through his phone.
Ahok, taking the chance to approach voters, said that taking care of Jakarta was not difficult because the city had all the money and human resources to improve the live of its citizens. (cor)