Gubernatorial candidates try to woo women voters
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In dealing with women’s issues in Jakarta, the candidates to be Jakarta’s next governor are apparently not all on the same page.
During a public discussion entitled “Perempuan Jakarta Nyari Gubernur” (Jakarta women seek a governor) on Tuesday, Alex Noerdin and Joko “Jokowi” Widodo focused on maternity needs.
Alex, who relied on his experience as the incumbent governor of South Sumatra, said that he would provide mother’s rooms, for things like breast-feeding and diaper changes, in private and state buildings, as well as day care facilities, and require all companies to honor women’s rights to maternity leave.
Jokowi would even provide mother’s rooms in public places, including bus terminals and train stations.
“I also would provide affordable apartments for working women near their offices so they don’t have to spend too much time to get home,” he said, adding that adequate salaries and proper working hours for women needed to be regulated.
All candidates presented their policy programs except for incumbent Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo, who showed up only to deliver welcoming remarks because he had yet to use official leave for the election.
Independent candidate Hendardji Soepandji brought his mother to the discussion, organized by the Indonesian Women’s Congress (Kowani), the Female Circle and the Women’s Forum for Excellence. During his presentation, he told the hundreds of women from various institutions and communities in attendance that he would provide assistance for women to establish small-scale business.
“I also will strive to reach a 30 percent quota of green open space in Jakarta so residents have a place to spend family time together,” he said.
Hidayat, who claims to be the only candidate who has specific main programs for women, said that he would increase budget allocations for women’s programs, like family planning, from Rp 39 billion (US$4.134 ,illion) to Rp 50 billion and to establish a local committee for women and children’s protection.
“We only have it at the national level and it cannot cover local problems,” he said, adding that 860 domestic violence cases occurred each month in Jakarta. Independent candidate Faisal Basri took the time to criticize the shortage of women’s exclusive areas in trains and TransJakarta buses.
“The number of male and female passengers is almost the same, yet women only get two compartments in trains. It is not fair,” said Faisal, adding that the separation indicated that the city was yet save for women.
According to Faisal, the most essential issue for women, and one that had been missed in the discussion, was the distinction of women’s and men’s salaries in private companies. “We have to force companies to make salaries equal,” he said.
Despite the candidates’ convincing tones, promising to pay more attention to women’s issues, a number of audience members were skeptical.
“The programs are too abstract and unconvincing,” said Sumarni, 44, who attended the forum with her friends from a gymnastic club in South Jakarta. “They should focus on women’s access to education and healthcare.” (JP/cor)