A global poll of gender experts has ranked Indonesia 17th out of the world’s 19 biggest economies in terms of the best places to be a woman.
That put Indonesia lower than South Africa and Mexico, and just above Saudi Arabia and India.
The poll of 370 gender specialists, conducted by TrustLaw, a legal news service run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, found that policies promoting gender equality, safeguards against violence and exploitation and access to health care made Canada the best place to be a woman among the G20 nations.
According to the foundation’s website, “violence, child marriage, sexual trafficking, harassment and exploitation make Indonesia dangerous for women while health services are poor.”
“Women suffer sexual violence each day, according to the National Commission on Violence Against Women [Komnas Perempuan], with rape being the most frequent form of violence,” Sunila Singh, an independent gender expert, was quoted by the site as saying. “Other forms include sexual trafficking, sexual harassment, torture and sexual exploitation.”
The website also noted that 90 percent of women in Indonesia had claimed to have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace, according to the OECD Development Center, and that one Indonesian woman died every hour in childbirth, according to the UN population fund.
TrustLaw asked aid professionals, academics, health workers, policymakers, journalists and development specialists with expertise in gender issues to rank the 19 countries of the G20 in terms of the overall best and worst to be a woman. The EU, a member of the G20 as an economic group along with several constituent countries, was not included in the survey.
The experts also ranked countries in six categories: quality of health, freedom from violence, participation in politics, workplace opportunities, access to resources such as education and property rights, and freedom from trafficking and slavery.
Respondents came from 63 countries on five continents and included experts from United Nations Women, the International Rescue Committee, Plan International, Amnesty USA and Oxfam International, as well as prominent academic institutions and campaigning organizations. Representatives of faith-based organizations were also surveyed.
Agustinus Supriyanto, a Komnas Perempuan commissioner, said the government should quickly enforce a number of international conventions the country has ratified into the national legal system.
“[The conventions] need to be followed up and implemented,” he said. “Trafficking cases are high in Indonesia for [women trafficked] domestically or abroad.”
Indonesia has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, but few implementing laws have been enacted based on the conventions.
Another problem, he said, is that authorities are still reluctant to enforce implementing laws, such as the Law against Domestic Violence.