The need for gender justice

A woman oil palm plantation labourer spreads fertiliser.

DTE 99-100, October 2014

What is the state of gender justice in Indonesia? How does it relate to communities and their natural resources management systems? What happens to gender justice when investors move in? What about climate change and the efforts to mitigate and adapt to it?  In this introductory article we set out some of the challenges to gender justice in Indonesia today.

Women and men interact with the environment and manage natural resources differently. In some communities these differences may be more marked than in others – ongoing research is showing complex patterns of resources management and gender influences.[1] According to the World Bank, women in forest communities derive half of their income from forests, while men derive only about a third; meanwhile CIFOR’s Poverty and Environment Network (PEN) has found that men’s activities are more likely to generate an income, whereas women are more involved in subsistence activities.[2]

Women in rural Indonesia, as contributors to this newsletter show, are often positioned as food providers by their traditional gender roles, as well as being mostly responsible for caring for the children and maintaining the household. Men are often perceived or described as the main job-holder (where jobs are available)  and commonly are more likely to play a leading role in decision-making over natural resources.  Women in rural areas may cultivate food crops on their land,[3] as well as gather different food items, medicines and other daily necessities from forests (or a combination of both in agroforestry systems). They may be involved both in the subsistence as well as the wider economy, providing food for their families plus additional cash income. Their roles may also require them to safeguard cultural knowledge, ensure the sustainability of community life and make decisions about social affairs in their communities.[4]

These highly variable, often fluid and continually evolving divisions in roles and responsibilities between men and women do not necessarily imply gender injustice. As pointed out by Sawit Watch and Solidaritas Perempuan (Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights) in their book about women and oil palm plantations, such  division is not an issue “as long as it doesn’t cause injustice.”

“For example in traditional Javanese agriculture, men hoe and women harvest using ‘ani-ani’[5]; in domestic living, women use knives to cook and men use machetes to cut wood. This becomes a problem when the roles and responsibilities are restricting women’s rights to access and control. For example women are not involved in decision-making, both in the household or the village realm because the decision making is done by the men as head of the household, and village meetings are only attended by the men as the head of the household.”

(The Oil Palm Plantation System Weakens the Position of Women, Sawit Watch and Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights, November 2010.)

Indeed decision-making about control over land and resources is often not a feature of women’s traditional gender roles in rural Indonesia. This means that the importance of women’s roles and resources to the sustainability of the life of community may be downplayed or even ignored altogether when communities’ lands and resources are taken over for commercial production. As a result, women may well end up worse off than men.[6]

“In the community, grassroots women are the ones that are most often ignored, not listened to, and considered unimportant. However, grassroots women are the ones that maintain the social, cultural, economic and political life in the community.”

(Poso Women’s Congress, Press Release, 2014)


Basic gender data

The achievement of gender equity in Indonesia is patchy and variable across an archipelago which is culturally and religiously extremely diverse.

  • On the UNDP’s Gender Inequality Index, Indonesia ranked 100 out of 146 countries (2011).[7]
  • According to ADB figures, the average annual income for women was US$2,289 compared to US$4434 for men (2003).
  • The literacy rate for women is 89.6%, and for men 95.6%, and women have fewer years of schooling than men (6.5 years for women, and 7.6 years for men).[8]

When the investors arrive...

There are also gender differences in the experiences of environmental degradation when large-scale natural resources exploitation is established in area previously controlled or accessed by local communities. This is happening in areas affected by the rapid expansion of coal-mining in Kalimantan, for example, and the advance of large-scale oil palm plantations in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, Papua and other parts of Indonesia. These experiences centre around loss of livelihood, water and food security associated with the changing use of lands. Here, women in their domestic provider roles may feel the loss of resources more directly than men. These losses are compounded by new negative impacts: pollution of water used for cooking, washing and drinking, for example; pollution of remaining farmland; and threats to health from air pollution.  

In forest areas, where formal control and ownership rests in the hands of the state, the loss of control over land, trees and other assets are devastating for men, women and whole communities, when investment moves in. As noted by CIFOR in a gender analysis of its international forestry research, where such assets are owned by women, the position of women is strengthened in households and in communities and provides them with incentives to sustainably manage their resources. “However, a narrow focus on ownership overlooks women’s access to, and use of, these resources. While understanding customary laws and de facto rights are important, much more focus needs to be paid to ‘in-between’ spaces that women have access to; spaces that are between men’s crops, trees, or on degraded land where women can collect fuel wood or wild foods.”[9] CIFOR notes that there are “huge benefits” in engaging both men and women in forest management policies, and that involving women in forest-related decision-making at the community level has been shown to have beneficial effects on a range of forest management issues, including the capacity of community groups to manage conflict.

“In many forests and countries,...greater gender equity is one of the keys to sustainable forest management.”

(CIFOR CGIAR Factsheet, Gender analysis in forestry research)

In Indonesia, Sajogyo Institute researchers Mia Siscawati and Avi Mahaningtyas have called for gender justice principles and actions to be incorporated in the reformulation of the legal framework for forest lands and resources and systematic capacity building on gender justice and forest tenure and governance among government institutions, civil society organisations and donor agencies.[10]

Indonesian women and oil palm plantations

  • Indonesia plans a significant expansion of oil palm plantations from around 11 million hectares today to up to 20 million hectares by 2020. Tanah Papua is among the frontier target areas for developing new plantations (see previous articles about the MIFEE project[11] for example, plus separate article in this issue about East Arso). Oil palm expansion is linked to the demand for biofuels in Europe,[12] the international trade in palm oil and other palm products, as well as domestic energy and cooking oil markets. The expansion of plantations into forest and peatlands is a major trigger of land conflicts as well as a source of alarming levels of carbon emissions.
  • According to Indonesia’s Ministry of Women’s Empowerment, the impact of oil palm plantations on rural women can include: loss of land ownership, an increase in time and effort to carry out domestic chores through loss of access to clean and adequate water and fuelwood; an increase in medical costs due to loss of access to medicinal plants obtained from gardens and forests; loss of food and income from home gardens and cropping areas; loss of indigenous knowledge and socio-cultural systems; and an increase in domestic violence against women and children due to increased social and economic stresses.[13]
  • Work in oil palm plantations is hard for both men and women, though different. It is not uncommon that women help their husbands in the plantations to meet demanding production quotas, and are expected to do this unpaid. Apart from that, women have to take care of the children, provide and prepare the food and collect firewood and water, which may now be located at a greater distance due to destruction of the forest to make way for the oil palm plantations. In cases where women work on a hired basis, they often receive lower wages than men. Such wage discrimination is justified by claims that their work is less arduous than that of men.
  • Women heads of households may be excluded from joining oil palm schemes offered when community lands are taken over, because only male heads of households may be recognised by them.
  • Often the work undertaken by women is more dangerous in terms of health impacts, eg. spraying pesticides and herbicides. These can be washed by heavy rainfall into streams and rivers which provide the only source of water for all household needs - including drinking - for villages around the plantations.
  • The establishment of oil palm plantations and their attendant  time-consuming work regimes can lead to more limited opportunities for women to meet and engage with other women (women’s cultural space), given that they still need to complete their domestic/reproductive work in a shorter amount of time.
  • A study by Sawit Watch and Solidaritas Perempuan illustrating how the oil palm industry affects rural women found that oil palm plantations amplify the injustices experienced by women. The Oil Palm Plantation System Weakens the Position of Women includes the results of field research in East Kalimantan and Central Sulawesi, where gender-related problems included longer working hours, health and safety, impact on children, denial of right to information, loss of land tenure, unequal pay and erosion of women’s culture. It traces the inception of  palm oil development, and describes the systematic discrimination against women inherent in the transmigration programme (the notorious state-sponsored project which shifted millions of villagers from Java, Madura and Bali to less densely populated ‘Outer Islands’ , and which supplied labour for agricultural schemes including oil palm plantations).[14]
  • Julia and Ben White’s 2011 study, The gendered politics of dispossession: oil palm expansion in a Dayak Hibun community in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, found that the expanding plantation and contract farming system undermined the position and livelihoods of indigenous women in an already patriarchal community. Women’s rights to land were eroded and they were becoming a class of plantation labour. [15]
  • In 2014, activists from eastern Indonesia gathered in South Sulawesi, where they issued the Makassar Declaration, setting out the problems of women and children facing large-scale oil palm development and calling for their human rights to be upheld. [16]
  • The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the industry-dominated body that sets standards and certifies ‘sustainable’ palm oil, pays some attention to gender justice in its principles and criteria. These are accessible on its website, though there is hardly any readily accessible information about how gender-related principles and criteria are being implemented by RSPO members. In its Principles and Criteria document, the RSPO prohibits any form of discrimination based on gender (6.8), and they include language on harassment or abuse in the workplace, and the protection of women’s reproductive rights (6.9). The indicators for the Principles and Criteria refer to the need to take into account gender differences when assessing impacts on local communities, and in the power to claim rights when calculating compensation for legal, customary or user rights. They also include policies to prevent sexual and other forms of harassment and violence and to protect reproductive rights, especially of women; and stipulate that pregnant and breastfeeding women should not work with pesticides. [17]

Gendered jobs

There may be worse consequences for women than men when companies recruiting workers for the incoming investment further complicate and overlay the existing gender division of labour. In mining and other extractive industries projects, there are rarely any direct jobs for women at all, whereas in plantations, the women’s jobs, where these are available, tend to be lower paid, less secure and more hazardous. (Companies often boast that they are creating jobs for a community, quoting impressive numbers of posts, but they don’t make clear, if they calculate them at all, existing occupations, paid or unpaid that are obliterated by the changes they introduce.)  

At the same time, traditional gender roles persist, so that women still struggle to provide food and care for the family in a degraded environment, where all or almost all of the resources have disappeared.

‘Women, who are traditionally responsible for gathering food for the family, now have to leave their children and husbands from dawn until dusk in order to find forests where they can gather enough roots, sago, and vegetables to last a few days..”It creates problems inside of the family. The men are angry and the children are left alone all day” said one local woman.’

(Conflict in Indonesia’s Papua region, GOHONG 28/Mar/2014 (IRIN))

In the case of plantation workers, there is an expectation that they should combine both the domestic/reproductive work as well as contribute long hours on the plantations. Research has found that the limitation of opportunities from land-based livelihoods can diminish women’s status within the family and society whilst simultaneously increasing their work burdens. In some instances, the swift changes brought about by incoming investment projects are linked to an increase in sexual harassment and/or violence against women.

Rural women and land ownership

More than twenty two million households were engaged in agriculture in Indonesia in 2003, of which 20% were female headed.[18]  In rural areas, women play an important role in agriculture, rural development and forest use/management, yet have little involvement in decision-making. Land ownership patterns also tend to disadvantage women: Article 35 of the marriage law (1974) provides for joint ownership of property, but most property is still registered in the name of the husband.

From 2000, government policy on agriculture introduced a gender perspective, and the Ministry of Agriculture is one institution where gender budgeting is being piloted.  However, it is generally thought that the government commitment to improving the lot of rural women deteriorated between the development plans of 2004-9 and 2010-14.

The 2012 National legislation programme introduced draft laws relating to rural women, but the Ministry for Women’s Empowerment and Protection of children was not involved in discussing them.

Gender sensitive Free Prior and Informed Consent

Gender sensitive FPIC involves ensuring the both men and women obtain full information about a project, or programme affecting them; that consultation meetings are organized in ways suitable for women’s schedules, they use appropriate terminology and allow enough time and opportunity for discussion. Crucially, women should have the right to withhold their consent for projects or programmes affecting their communities.[19]

Climate change

“Climate change will not only endanger lives and undermine livelihoods, it will also exacerbate the gap between rich and poor and amplify the inequities between women and men”

(‘Women and the climate change’, Lynda K. Wardhani, Jakarta Post, 5/January/2010[20])

The impacts of climate change affect women and men differently as do interventions around climate change mitigation and adaptation. Globally, women are the main producers of staple crops, so when food production suffers in changing climate conditions, their work, working time, and ability to feed their families is affected. If rural women depend on forests for more of their income than do the men in their communities, it follows that any negative impact on the availability of forest resources linked to climate change, will also affect women more.

 As described by Lynda Wardhani in 2010, women are more vulnerable to climate change too, because they tend to have less income-earning opportunities than men. They manage households and care for their families, which may limit their mobility and increase their vulnerability to sudden weather-related natural disasters.

“Drought and erratic rainfall force women to work harder to secure food, water and energy for their homes. Girls drop out of school to help their mothers with these tasks. Such a cycle of deprivation, poverty and inequality undermines the social capital needed to deal effectively with climate change.”[21]

Moreover, as climate change means more extreme weather and associated disasters like floods, landslides and droughts, there is a likelihood that women will bear a disproportionate impact here too: studies show that women are more vulnerable to disasters than men in societies that are already inequitable. This is true both in terms of a disproportionate number of deaths of women compared to men in disasters, but also in terms of their living conditions and vulnerability after the disasters.[22]

Women’s active involvement in managing forests and other natural resources mean that they should be considered key actors in mitigation and adaptation efforts[23] including the management and use of mitigation and adaptation funding.

Safeguards to counter-act the further marginalisation are needed in all climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, programmes and initiatives, including finance, through funding mechanisms such as the Green Climate Fund, but their development has been sluggish through the years of climate change negotiations. They only really achieved serious consideration in the Cancun Agreements of UNFCCC COP 16 in 2010. These Agreements recognize women and gender equality as integral to effective actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.  They include eight references to women and gender across seven sections of text.[24]


Women are more likely to be disproportionately affected by REDD+ policies and initiatives because of their gender roles which mean they are often more dependent on forest access and resources for their livelihood and subsistence needs than are men.[25] Potential risks for women include restrictions on livelihood activities or forest access, which can lead to higher workloads or loss of income, and exclusions from benefit sharing mechanisms.[26]

REDD+ initiatives in Indonesia have thus far failed to be sufficiently (if at all) inclusive of women and women have limited access to decision-making about projects planned in their area, or about policy-making on REDD at national or regional level. In a study of gender and REDD+, the UN-REDD Programme, for example, acknowledges that its Indonesia Programme was designed without any consultation of women’s groups and gender experts, and that its National Programme Document failed to incorporate gender perspectives or include women-targeted activities – a shortcoming that was only addressed three years later. From 2012, the programme started involving ‘women champions’ in programme implementation and to inspire other women to be more actively engaged, as well as inserting gender as a topic in training for gender-responsive FPIC, and engaging women’s organizations at local level. However, as its own document states, “these initiatives alone are insufficient. Efforts for gender mainstreaming should be more comprehensive and institutionalized.”[27] The UNREDD study states that gender should be integrated into REDD+ based on two main arguments: rights (ie CEDAW, UNDRIP, Cancun Agreement) and efficiency – because engaging women in REDD+ is likely to increase the programme’s efficiency and long-term sustainability.[28]

Indonesia’s own National REDD+ Strategy, and its PRISAI (Principles, Criteria and Indicators Safeguard) contain several references to gender and women, thanks in part to input from civil society groups (see also separate  article). But according to the UN-REDD study, two important elements have not been included in the safeguards: women’s secure control over forestlands and resources; and gender sensitive FPIC implementation (see box).

Political representation in Indonesia

The issue of representation is addressed in the legal system by a 30% reservation quota established for women on the election lists of parliamentary parties in Law No. 10/2008 on legislative elections. According to the General Elections Commission (KPU), of the 6,607 candidates competing for the 560 parliamentary seats in this year’s elections, 37% or 2,467, were women.

However, when compared to the percentage of candidates, the number of women actually making it into parliament is low. Women filled just 94 of the 560 seats in the newly elected national parliament, the DPR, meaning women’s representation is just 16.8% - less than half the percentage that stood. This puts Indonesia in 90th place on the list of countries compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union.[29]

Moreover, there are fewer women in the new parliament than in the previous one. The highest percentage in Indonesian history of female lawmakers taking up parliamentary seats – 18 percent - was seen in the 2009 elections.

Gender Equality and Justice Bill

There is a Gender Equality and Justice Bill before parliament at the moment, but this has been held up by this year’s elections.  Mired in controversy about clauses which some religious groups say go against Islam and Indonesian culture, the bill might end up weakened as a result of this, if it is passed at all. If it is not, work on a new one will have to start at the beginning of the next parliament. The proposed bill covers 12 areas including citizenship, education, employment, health and marriage. Provisions include equal rights for women and men to work in all sectors, equal pay for the same work, the right to determine the number and spacing of children, being able to choose husbands and wives without force, and fair treatment before the law.

The clauses on marriage are a particular bone of contention for some Islamist groups.[30]



Indonesia signed the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1984 and ratified it through Law No.7 of that year. However, implementation has been piecemeal and weak. The definition of discrimination against women has not been included in the constitution, laws, and regulations.

Indonesia submitted its last report to CEDAW in 2012 and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women met Indonesian government delegates to discuss this in July 2012. Here, Indonesian delegates highlighted, among other points, the country’s National Action Plan on Human Rights for 2011-2014 which provided facilities for women to lodge complaints of violence and discrimination; a draft bill on gender equality; and gender mainstreaming at the national and local levels among legislators and policymakers. All of which, said the delegates, showed the considerable progress Indonesia was making in women’s rights. However, the committee’s questions to Indonesia were critical of the lack of progress, particularly on representation and quotas for women, human trafficking and migrant workers, decentralized laws that violate human rights conventions, violence against women and female genital mutilation (FGM) which is still legal in Indonesia. [31]

A number of shadow reports from civil society organisations submitted to the Committee, included one by Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia (KPI) focusing on the rights of rural women,[32] as well as a combined report by leading women’s organizations in Indonesia.[33] Concerns in this report include women in rural areas, coastal areas, mining, palm oil plantations, and climate change.

This year, 2014, the government signalled its intention to ratify CEDAW’s optional protocol, but at the time of writing this had not gone ahead.

Gender based violence

Violence against women (VAW) remains a persistent problem in Indonesia and absorbs much media attention. A total of 54,425 cases of violence against women were reported to the National Commission on VAW (Komnas Perempuan) in 2008. Ninety percent of these involved husbands/personal relationships.

Polygamy and early marriage are still issues in Indonesia, and in some parts of the country, violence against women is institutionalized. In some regions there is also flagrant abuse of women’s rights on inheritance, dress and public participation. Although a 2007 law was introduced to address it, trafficking is also a problem, as is violence against women migrant workers (particularly domestic workers) (see box, separate article).

Violence against women (and children) in Papua has caused heightened concern, due to the high level of reported incidents there. In 2011, the Asian Human Rights Commission said indigenous Papuan women reported high rates of domestic violence, perpetrated by husbands and partners, with little protection from police or state agencies.[34] According to Komnas Perempuan, Papua province recorded 1,360 cases of gender-based violence per 10,000 women in 2012, though reporting levels are believed to be low in Papua. Alcohol is widely recognized as a contributory factor in domestic violence here (see also Papua article).

Tanah Papua (which includes Papua and Papua Barat provinces) is a resource-rich region, but the years of political, cultural repression and resource-grabbing plus military and police-perpetrated violence against indigenous Papuans in the territory, have contributed to its human development rankings being among the lowest. The adult literacy rate is only 64% here, and, on average, pupils attend less than six years of formal schooling.[35] The state security forces have also been responsible for acts of violence, including sexual violence against women in this province.  Cases of violations have been documented by publications such as Enough is Enough, based on the testimonies of women victims themselves,[36] as well as Papuan campaigners such as Yosepha Alomang. 

The Deputy chair of the Papuan People’s Council (MRP), Angelbertha Kotorok, described the gender-based violence and economic oppression faced by women trying to provide for their families in Mimika, location of the giant Freeport-Rio Tinto copper and gold mine:

“Besides the daily work in their gardens and the panning for gold, women have to face violence from their husbands, as well as acts of violence from members of the security forces…They also face pressure from the security forces who demand from them money earned from panning gold. And moreover, they are forced to sell the results of their gold panning to members of the security forces for a very low price.”

(Bintang Papua, 3 January 2012, abridged in translation by TAPOL)

National Gender Laws & Regulations in Indonesia – a selection

The state has gender mainstreaming policies in a number of ministries and a gender equality law is under discussion. However few national and even fewer local laws have been harmonised with CEDAW. Implementation of laws and policies to improve women’s equality is uneven and in some parts of the archipelago, particularly areas where there is enforcement of sharia law, women are finding that their freedoms are becoming more restricted rather than less.

  • 2000 – Presidential instruction on Gender Mainstreaming
  • 2004 – Law on elimination of Domestic Violence
  • 2004 – Law on placement and protection of Indonesia’s migrant workers (39/2004)
  • 2008 – Ministry of Home Affairs Reg. 15/2008 on Guidelines for implementation of mainstreaming gender in the regions issued.
  • Decree 84/2008 gives guidelines on implementation of gender mainstreaming in the education sector.
  • Since 2009 gender budgeting has been conducted in seven ministries
  • Gender Equality and Justice Law (RUU KPG) – in draft: there are fears it won’t be passed during this legislative period.[37]
  • Laws in 2011 and 12 requiring political parties to have a 30% quota for women on their central and regional executives and electoral slates.
  • According to Komnas Perempuan, there are 342 regional regulations that discriminate against women (2013).[38]

National Machinery

  • 1978 – State ministry for Women’s Empowerment established – now called State Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection
  • Its main role is to further gender mainstreaming, the improvement of women’s lives, women’s protection, child protection and community empowerment.
  • It has been criticised for being insufficiently visible and lacking in decision-making power and financial and human resources.
  • SMWC developed a national development master plan for women’s Empowerment (RIPNAS 2000‐2004) and the Development Policy On Improvement of Women’s Lives 2010-2014 that is aimed at enhancing women’s status in education, health, economic activities, political participation and society and culture.
  • The National Commission on Violence Against Women, known as Komnas Perempuan, was established in 1998 and promotes the elimination of violence against women.
Men’s changing gender roles

Economic and social change in Indonesian society over the past three to four decades has also led to changes to men’s traditional gender roles.  It is not a simple matter of men’s decision-making power diminishing commensurately with the increase of women’s. Sometimes everybody’s roles mutate when there are dramatic changes to economic and agrarian production. And we should not make assumptions as to their attitudes to those changes, which also vary.

Assumptions challenged

Recent research by the Poverty and Environment Network (PEN) led by CIFOR, has questioned assumptions about the relative roles of men and women in forest management. A global study found that, against expectations, men played an important subsistence role in the households studied. The study found that in Africa, as previously assumed, women do tend to play a stronger subsistence role, but in Southeast Asia men and women tend to share more responsibilities in forest management and agricultural production.

“For a complete picture of the dependency of any rural society on natural resources, it’s not enough to consider the role of men or women. We need both,” said Victoria Reyes-Garcia, co-author of the report.[39]

How are Indonesian CSOs addressing the issue of men and gender justice? Gender considerations can often come across as an outside imposition, or, in the case of foreign-funded development initiatives, as a box-ticking exercise rather than a transformational project.  This might be observed particularly on the part of CSOs that don’t directly deal with gender issues, but who may, either voluntarily or less than voluntarily adopt gender policies/incorporate gender perspectives into their work. This is something that Solidaritas Perempuan for example, has witnessed in its work on gender and natural resources.

In preparing this newsletter, DTE came across very few references to men being engaged in gender justice programmes. One of these is the Feminist School, run by the National Network for Women’s Liberation (JNPM), since 2008. The schools are attended by women, but also by men (at the first school there were 67 men to 101 women and 1 transgender). It also counts six men among its 149 members.[40] Solidaritas Perempuan and Jurnal Perempuan also have active male members.

Ultimately, gender justice needs to be presented and understood as a powerful tool for the whole community. When women are empowered, the whole community gains. Men who acknowledge and act to address gender injustice recognise that they, their families and communities will gain from women being better able to contribute their wisdom and insights to decision-making processes. Working towards gender justice means supporting all community members - no matter whether they are male or female – to develop their full potential according to their skills and talents, within and beyond traditional gender roles. It frees up the potential of the individuals, families and communities to better face the many social, economic and environmental challenges ahead.

International Instruments

  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1979)
  • Vienna Declaration 1993
  • Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995)
  • Millennium Development Goals (2001)
  • UN GA Resolution 1325
  • UNDRIP (Indigenous women)
  • Cancun Agreement (women and climate change)

[1] See recent challenges to assumptions about gender roles in forest management for example, by Poverty and Environment Network, CIFOR. ‘Study paints nuanced picture of gender roles in forestry, 28/April/2014.

[2] CIFOR CGIAR Factsheet, Gender analysis in forestry research

[3] Women seldom hold formal title to land, though Indonesian law does provide for this. Moreover, indigenous peoples’ customary land in forest areas claimed by the state as the state forest zone has denied millions of people formal recognition of their tenurial rights, whether communally held or individually held by men or women. This should change following the ruling by Indonesia’s Constitutional Court in May 2013 that customary forests are not part of state forests, but the process of recognising customary land is likely to be slow-paced. See ‘Forestry Ministry reluctant to relinquish control over forests’, DTE 98, March 2014,

[4] See ‘Indigenous Women’s workshop at AMAN Congress’, DTE 74, August 2007.

[5] A specialist grain harvesting tool

[6] Studies have found that enhanced women’s participation in decision-making committees in community forest institutions has been shown to improve forest governance and resource sustainability. See CIFOR CGIAR Factsheet, Gender analysis in forestry research

[7] UNDP. 2011. Human Development Report 2011: Sustainability and Equity: a better future for all. UNDP: New York, quoted in Integrating gender into REDD+ safeguards implementation in Indonesia, UNREDD Programme, November 2012.

[8] ADB. 2006. Indonesia Country Gender Assessment, quoted in Integrating gender into REDD+ safeguards implementation in Indonesia, UNREDD Programme, November 2012.

[9] CIFOR CGIAR Factsheet, Gender analysis in forestry research.

[10] See DTE 93-94, December 2012, The Struggle for Land,  See also Mia Siscawati’s contribution to this newsletter.

[12] See DTE 96-97, Special issue on agrofuels,, and DTE agrofuels campaign page.

[13] Indonesian Ministry of Women’s Empowerment, summarized by FPP, CIRAD and ILC, and quoted in ‘Policies and practice: favouring big business over communities’, DTE 93-94, December 2012,

[14] The Oil Palm Plantation System Weakens the Position of Women, Sawit Watch and Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights, November 2010. For more information on the transmigration programme, see DTE Special Report: Indonesia’s Transmigration Programme: an Update.

[15] The gendered politics of dispossession: oil palm expansion in a Dayak Hibun community in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, by Julia and Ben White. Paper presented at the International Conference on Global Land Grabbing, 6-8 April 2011.

[16] Sawit Watch, 14/May/2014, Deklarasi Makasar, Meneguhkan Keadilan dan Kearifan Posisi Perempuan dalam Pengelolaan Kekayaan Alam.

[17] RSPO Principles and Criteria for the production of sustainable palm oil 2013.

[18] JICA Indonesia Country Gender Profile 2011 - page 25

[19] See: Integrating gender into REDD+ safeguards implementation in Indonesia, UNREDD Programme, November 2012.

[21] Women and the climate change’, Lynda K. Wardhani, Jakarta Post, 5/January/2010.

[22] Women and the climate change’, Lynda K. Wardhani, Jakarta Post, 5/January/2010. This article mentions the rape and trafficking of women survivors of the Aceh tsunami, and vulnerability to trafficking of women displaced by the Lapindo mudflow disaster. See also DTE 64 March 2005 for more on the gender dimensions of the Aceh tsunami.

[25] Integrating gender into REDD+ safeguards implementation in Indonesia, UNREDD Programme, November 2012. This document argues that REDD+ has the potential  to reduce gender disparity by providing ways in which women gain more secure tenure to forestlands and resources, but also points to the potential disproportionate negative impacts on women.

[26] CIFOR CGIAR Factsheet, Gender analysis in forestry research.

[27] Integrating gender into REDD+ safeguards implementation in Indonesia, UNREDD Programme, November 2012.

[28] Integrating gender into REDD+ safeguards implementation in Indonesia, UNREDD Programme, November 2012.

[29] See accessed 12 August 2014. For comparison, the percentage of women Members of the European Parliament (MEPs)  after the 2014 elections was 36.7%; in the UK women make up 22% of MPs and in Germany, 33% of MPs are women. Sources: ‘Left parties win gender parity contest in new EU Parliament’, Euractiv,, accessed 12/08/2014, and ‘First MEP for a feminist party likely to win seat in European elections’, The Guardian 21/May/2014.

[30] The diversity of Indonesia’s Islamic organisations and communities and their attitudes towards gender relations is discussed in ‘Islam and Gender Relations in Indonesia, with a Special Focus on Eastern Indonesia’ Kathryn Robinson in Intersection: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific, Issue 30, November 2012., accessed 19th August 2014.

[31] CEDAW/C/SR.1043, 5 December 2012

[32] See Report of Independent NGO Implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) In Indonesia, Fulfilment of the Rights of Rural Women, Article 14, CEDAW,, accessed 19 August 2014.

[33] CEDAW Working Group of Indonesia, Independent Report of Non-Government Organizations Concerning the Implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in Indonesia, 2012.

[34] ‘Tackling domestic violence in Indonesia’s Papua Province’, IRIN, 13/December/2013.

[35] ‘Tackling domestic violence in Indonesia’s Papua Province’, IRIN, 13/December/2013.

[36] See ‘Violence against Papuan women – the resource extraction link’ in DTE 91-92, May 2012., and Enough is Enough!, ICTJ, the Women Commission, and the Women Working Group of Papuan People Assembly for the full document.

[37] See ‘Time running out for Indonesia’s stalled gender equality bill’, 8 April 2014, Thomson Reuters Foundation,, accessed 19th August 2014.

[38] Komnas Perempuan: Ada 342 Perda Diskriminatif di Indonesia, Voice of America Bahasa Indonesia,, accessed 19th August 2014

[39] Poverty and Environment Network, CIFOR. ‘Study paints nuanced picture of gender roles in forestry, 28/April/2014.

[40] Feminist School for Young People and Developing New Facilitator of Feminism 2013-2015, at Accessed 13/August/2014