Papuan women flock to training programmes for election roles
Women in Papua are being trained to play a greater role in elections.
A training programme is being held in Indonesia's remote Papua province this week to encourage more women to get involved in the election process.
One hundred women are attending workshops in Jayapura and Manokwari, organised by the University of Indonesia's Center for Political Studies, or Puskapol.
The university's Anna Lumban Gaol says she is pushing local authorities to allow women to be observers at the national elections in two weeks time.
She told Alex Perrottet that plenty of women are now trained and ready to get involved.
AL: It's only just two weeks prior to the legislative election and the only possible position to be filled is as observers. And basically the training programme covers all the materials that will be needed for these women to be able to register to apply as observers and actually also as members of electoral management bodies in four to five years from now.
AP: And can you tell me what are the factors that have hampered women's involvement in organising elections and being involved in organising that process up until now?
AL: Women face many challenges, but we do have a regulation, a law. It actually talks about 30 percent of women needs to be considered in the membership of electoral monitoring bodies, at all levels, but the law has not been translated into technical regulations at the local level. So the implementation and the interpretation of that law has been really loose. We have to be able to see that the challenge in the knowledge of the election has also been caused by the attitude. Because the interest is there but social pressures and also local values that still prioritise men in building their careers in politics including being members in electoral monitoring bodies.
AP: OK and what are your hopes for these 100 women that are going through the training?
AL: We are pushing them to give a certification to more women to become observers because we have found that the number of women being recruited, or being accredited as electoral observers is really low. It's a classic, it's a classic excuse of the local government that there are no women who are ready to be recruited. Through this training we are giving 100 names, ready to be recruited. 100 names that are already equipped, with knowledge of elections and also some soft skills that are needed in the electoral monitoring and management work.
AP: So you're saying there's a little bit of push-back from the local authorities saying that there aren't women ready to walk into these positions?
AL: True, yes, we found this also in the interview, they often related that women being overwhelmingly busy with domestic chores, which is highly debatable, because women who also are housewives, they show great interest to become members of the electoral monitoring bodies but they also have to have permission from their husbands. This is one thing that a law cannot really address but a training like this is aimed to address this very personal yet very political issue that will be able to push women to have greater opportunities to contribute in elections, in electoral-related work.
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