Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies

Increasing women’s parliamentary representation in Asia and the Pacific: the Indonesian experience

By Ben Hillman

In recent years, governments across Asia and the Pacific have adopted gender quotas to increase women’s representation in parliament. In 2003, Indonesia introduced a 30% gender quota that, over two election cycles, contributed to an increase in women’s share of seats in the national parliament from 9 per cent to 18 per cent. In the most recent (2014) elections, despite stronger enforcement of the quota provisions, expansive civil society-led efforts to support women candidates and favourable press coverage, the percentage of women elected to the national parliament declined. This article examines the evolving political context in which the gender quota operates to argue that common support programs designed to maximize the gender quota’s impact on women’s representation are insufficiently targeted at major obstacles. Findings will be of interest to lawmakers and public sector professionals working to advance gender equity and to students of democratization, representation and gender politics.

(Photo: Seika on flickr)


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