JAKARTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation and third largest democracy, holds its fourth polls since emerging from three decades of dictatorship under President Suharto in 1998.
Indonesians will cast their vote in parliamentary elections on April 9, followed by a presidential election in July.
Here are some facts about women and the elections:
- There are a record number of female candidates vying for 560 parliamentary seats, accounting for 38 percent of 6,607 contenders. Out of the 240,000 candidates in the race for seats in national, regional, provincial and district assemblies, 83,000 of them are women.
- The increase in the number of female candidates has been attributed to the 2012 Election Law which stipulates that at least one in every three candidates on a political party's list must be a women. Parties who do not meet the quota in a particular electoral district will be barred from competing. In a decision handed down in March, the Constitutional Court endorsed the law.
- The representation of women in politics has steadily increased from 9 percent in 1999 to 11 percent in 2004 and 18 percent in 2009.
- However, more women serving as elected officials has not improved gender equality in Indonesia. In 2013, Komnas Perempuan, the national commission on violence against women, recorded 342 regulations that discriminate women and minorities, more than double the figure in 2009.
- Indonesia had a female president before. Megawati Sukarnoputri is the daughter of the country's founding president. In the past few months, she has repeatedly aired her frustration with the rise of maternal mortality rate but activists say she did not champion women's rights when she was in power.
(Source:- Reuters, International Republican Institute, Asia Foundation, Komnas Perempuan, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Jakarta Post, The Jakarta Globe)