Women in Bali Politics
A change for the better?Luh Kerthianing and Putu Febri Antari are two Buleleng women that will be noted in the politics history in Buleleng. They are the first women who joined vice regent election in Buleleng on 12 June 2007. Luh Kerthianing is the member of Buleleng council and she is paired with Sugawa Korry to fight with other candidates in PILKADA (Direct regent election). Putu Febri Antari is the eldest daughter of Nyoman Sember, a senior Bali politician. She is 23 years old that makes her the youngest candidate. But it doesn’t matter because she is supported by her father.
The two women are the examples of women in Buleleng who join politics world. Recently, women participation in the politics field is not so much. If it is compared to other countries, women in Indonesia are not really interested on politics field. It is true that when Megawati Sekarno Putri was elected to be the Indonesian president, the issue of women emancipation in Indonesia was often being discussed. It gave more chances for women to participate in politics field. However, the opinion that women are the second citizen still makes it difficult for women to get involved in politics organizations.
The same condition happens in Buleleng, which is known as the most dynamic regency in Buleleng in relation to its politics matters. Buleleng people acknowledge the changes of politics conditions such as the women’s leadership in political party. Tiwik Ismaheningrum, the leader of Buleleng GOLKAR party is one of the women in Buleleng who can prove that women can be a good leader. Luh Kerthianing was also the leader of Buleleng Pelopor party and now she joins PILKADA paired with Sugawa Korry from GOLKAR party.
These women show that women can be relied on to be leaders. Balinese women are famous due to their hard work, patience, and toughness. Moreover, women are the most voters in the direct regent election since women have more population than men. However, until now, the women’s participation in politics does not increase. It is especially in the membership of regency council and province council (DPRD). From all of the membership in the regency council, the women’s participation is only 11.72 %. It also happens in the membership of political party. Buleleng women seem to be uninterested in being a political party member.
There are some factors behind the lack enthusiasm of women in politics field:
1. There is an opinion that politics is a world filled with violence that women should not enter. It is mainly for men.
2. Most women don’t like to get involved in organizations.
3. Women, especially Balinese women are busy with their own household business. They have to take care of the children, serve their husband, and so on. They don’t have enough time to explore their potential ability in political matters.
4. Women are lack of confidence, so mentally and psychologically, they are not ready to conduct political duties and to take important decisions.
5. Patriarchy culture and caste system adopted by Balinese often become hindrances for Balinese women to participate in politics.
Meanwhile, there are some reasons why Buleleng women are willing to participate in politics. They say that they want to serve the country and nation, and also their party. Some of them say that they want to fight for the women emancipation through politics and other say that they got involved in politics is because their family’s support. Whatever their reasons, it can be concluded that women’s participation in Buleleng politics is still low but it might be changed in the future. Luh Kerthianing, Putu Febri Antari, and Tiwik Ismaheningrum are the starters of the change. In Ramayana epos, there was Srikandi, a woman born as a man who then defeated the mighty prince, Bhisma. The story proved that women can defeat even the strongest man. Maybe by having women as the leader, our beloved regency will be better in the future.
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