Women’s quota in political parties gives hope to Papuan women

KPU Papua Commissioner, Sandra Mambrasar (center), with Ester Haluk (left), during a dialogue at Jubi TV Studio, Wednesday (8/3/2023). - Jubi/Engel Wally

Jayapura, Jubi – Indonesia is approaching the election period. Political parties begin to compete and win people’s votes. One of the requirements for registering election participants is the fulfillment of the 30 percent quota for women as stipulated in the Election Law and technical regulations of the General Election Commission (KPU).

KPU Papua commissioner Sandra Mambrasar said such a rule provided opportunities for women to advance to the legislative council, both at the central and regional levels.

“Women lawmakers can voice a lot of concerns from women’s health and reproduction, violence against women, and economic empowerment. Now it’s up to the women, whether or not they want to be directly involved. It’s a matter of readiness and confidence,” said Mambrasar in a talk show titled “Measuring the Political Participation of Papuan Women After Provincial Expansion and Ahead of the 2024 Election” at Jubi TV Studio in Waena, Jayapura City on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.

Mambrasar encouraged Papuan women while setting herself as an example. As one of the KPU commissioners, she previously had no experience in bureaucracy or politics. With her experience as an activist, she braced herself and took the role as KPU commissioner.

“So far, the involvement and interest of women in politics, especially Indigenous Papuan women, is still very minimal,” she said.

Representative of the West Papua Women’s Forum Ester Haluk also said the quota for women should be embraced. “Because there are many things that can be done for women when there is women representation in parliamentary seats, both at the center and the regions,” said Ester Haluk.

“We hope that Papuan women who have managed to be party organizers and legislators can open space for political education, and make use of their privileges well,” she added.

Women’s representation, she said, would make a huge difference amid Papua’s problems such as the wave of displaced people, Papuans losing economic competition with outsiders, discrimination, domestic violence, human rights violations, military violence, and many others.

“The humanity crisis that is occurring in Papua, violence that creates displaced people on a large scale today, has turned women and children the most vulnerable victims. We hope that women representatives can speak a lot about this, and the quota available for women in politics at this time can be utilized to get involved and voice things that are important to women,” she said. (*)

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