By Cynthia Richie Terrell on June 14, 2019
‘Women, don’t be afraid to participate in politics!’ Activists and politicians mark International Women’s Day in Banda Aceh in March. Photo by Irwansyah Putra for Antara.
Indonesia first introduced affirmative action for gender justice through Law 31 of 2002 on Political Parties, which required political parties to “consider gender equality and equity” in the recruitment of legislative candidates and in political party structures from the national to the local level. After two rounds of revisions, in 2008 and 2011, the phrase “consider gender equality and equity” was strengthened to “include 30 per cent representation by women”.
While there were no sanctions for parties that ignored the 30 per cent rule, women’s representation in political party structures increased from 2003 to 2014, according to analysis by Cakra Wikara Indonesia (link is external) (CWI). In 2014, two political parties even exceeded the 30 per cent threshold in their organisational structures: the Democratic Party and Hanura.
Voters in Chicago made history on Tuesday by electing Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, as the city’s first black female mayor. Her commanding victory capped a grueling campaign in which Lightfoot, who will become the city’s first openly gay mayor, defeated more than a dozen challengers en route to winning her first elected office.
Lightfoot, 56, is now set to lead the nation’s third-largest city as it continues to grapple with gun violence, alleged public corruption, ongoing efforts to reform the police force and an exodus of black residents. In the runoff election on Tuesday, she defeated Toni Preckwinkle, president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, in a contest fraught with historic meaning, given that it featured two black women vying to succeed outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Sojourner Truth didn’t deliver her iconic “Ain’t I a Woman?” address for the sake of an inspirational Instagram post. Susan B. Anthony didn’t champion women’s voting rights for a special museum exhibit. A women-themed happy hour was hardly the motivation for Sacagawea’s dangerous trek across the country with Lewis and Clark.
Yet we continue to celebrate Women's History Month with hashtags and Ruth Bader Ginsburg swag.