Women Participation

Article 55 of Law 8/2012 on General Elections stipulates ‘the list of nominees of candidates for members of the House of Representatives shall contain at least 30% of women’s representation.’ This provides the proportion of having 1 woman for every 3 candidates. The quota system is a temporary instrument used to ensure women’s political participation, until the society no longer marginalizes them, particularly in political life.

However, women continuously face barriers in their participation because of the perceived dichotomy between private and public life embedded in Indonesian society. Many have not yet found the courage to move forward as the cultural perception that the place of women is in the household as caregivers still persists. The culture of patriarchy limits the participation of women in public life.

Moreover, there had been debates with regard to the quota system as being less democratic. Critics argue that the voters should have the freedom to vote among candidates regardless of gender. They are further concerned of the special treatment the women are getting in the allocation of positions in the party list. The quota system has also been criticized for not allowing women to fully display their abilities and win by merit. Women’s groups pointed out that it is only a temporary measure until the time when women are no longer being discriminated upon, especially in the public life and that tokenism should be avoided; instead, only women who are truly found capable and dedicated should run for office.

Political parties also play an important role in ensuring women’s political participation. Political parties determine the number of women to be elected in Parliament. Women’s attitude towards running for office may also be affected by how they are socialized within the political parties and electoral procedures. However, it appears that political parties remain indifferent towards women’s concerns and needs. They also lack the strategies to encourage more women to participate in the political arena.


Adhiati, A. S. (2009). Women in Parliament: Quotas and Beyond. Tapol.

Indonesia. (2014, March 24). Retrieved from Quota Project: http://www.quotaproject.org/uid/countryview.cfm?CountryCode=ID.

Seda, F. S. (2002). Legislative Recruitment and Electoral Systems in Indonesia. International IDEA: Women in Parliament.

Villaruel, J. J. (2014). Indonesian Election: The Role and Participation of Women. CIRSS Commentaries.


Resources :

PDF : Women’s Participation in Politics and Government in Indonesia (UNDP: 2010)
PDF : Legislative Recruitment and Electoral Systems in Indonesia – This case study examines the electoral system and political party dynamics that affect the representation of women in Indonesia. Political parties are effectively the gatekeepers to elected office – how and where women are placed in party candidate lists has an important effect on the number of women elected to parliament. This case study also provides suggestions for increasing the legislative recruitment of women in elections in Indonesia.
PDF : Women in Parliament: Quota and Beyond (TAPOL: 2009)
PDF : Indonesian Elections: The Role and Participation of Women (CIRSS: 2014)
Link : Quota Project: quota for woman representatives in House of Representatives and at sub-national level

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