Jakarta, December 19, 2011 – The World Bank and Indonesia’s Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection are today co-hosting a national conference on gender inclusive development. The national conference highlights the key findings of the World Development Report 2012: Gender Equality and Development which notes that Indonesia – like most developing countries – has made important progress in improving health outcomes among women and girls. Indonesia has also managed to increase women’s access to education, finance and justice.
However, challenges remains. In terms of economic activity, for example, female-owned businesses in rural Indonesia are still less profitable than those owned by men. Education, ownership of assets, access to economic opportunities and opportunities to earn income are keys to improving women’s wellbeing and their families.
The Indonesian government is now working towards a more gender inclusive and equitable development, in line with Presidential Instruction No 3/2010 on Equitable Development. The inpres entails a cross-sectoral effort to ensure that women and men, boys and girls all have equal access and opportunities towards development processes and results.
"Many women now hold senior positions in the private sector. The women’s vote in politics has also gone up from 11.6 percent to 18 percent. However, there is still the perception that the male voice is still more superior and that females are not meant to be leaders,” says Linda Gumelar, Indonesia’s Minister for Women's Empowerment and Child Protection. “Women’s groups and other components of civil society need to make more concerted efforts to ensure that women and men are both equal players in development, and enjoy the benefits equally.”
“Gender equality in Indonesia has improved significantly over the last two decades. Female life expectancy is 73 – higher than the global average of 71. More women are becoming entrepreneurs thanks to innovative microcredit schemes. More women are also more aware of their legal rights thanks to paralegal training in villages,” says Stefan Koeberle, World Bank Country Director for Indonesia. “Nonetheless, there are areas for improvement such as in labor participation, maternal mortality, access to formal financial institutions and also development planning and budgeting. The World Bank has been working actively with the Indonesian government on programs to increase gender equality in some of these areas.”
“In the East Asia and Pacific region, there has been significant economic and social progress --including on gender equality, but more needs to be done,” says Sudhir Shetty, Co-Director of the World Development Report. “Evidence shows that promoting gender equality in economic opportunities promotes development. It helps raise income, promotes female empowerment and voice, and increases women’s access to political and legal institutions. Equalizing opportunity in economic participation could increase total growth in the region by 7 to 18 percent. This has large implications to poverty reduction. So, women’s economic empowerment is not only the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do.”
Over the past five years, the World Bank Group has provided $65 billion to support girls’ education, women’s health, and women’s access to credit, land, agricultural services, jobs, and infrastructure. Going forward, the World Bank Group will mainstream gender work and find other ways to move the agenda forward to capture the full potential of half the world’s population.