WLP Indonesia Trains Women Political Aspirants and Community Leaders

On November 10-11, 2013, in response to Indonesia’s new electoral quota system and in preparation for elections held April 9, 2014, WLP Indonesia/Women and Youth Development Institute Indonesia (WYDII) launched a Political Participation Capacity Building Institute. The workshop, held in Surabaya, Indonesia, was specifically designed for and attended by women legislative candidates, including incumbents, repeat candidates, and first time candidates. The 21 women who participated ranged in age from 38 to 66 years old and represented five political parties.  The April elections, the results of which have not yet been announced, were the first to be held under the new quota system stipulating  that one in three candidates from each party must be a woman.

The workshop aimed to maximize the potential gains of the new quota system for women’s representation in Indonesia by preparing women who were running for office in the April elections. It used Bahasa Indonesia-language versions of Leading to Choices and a translated chapter about elections from Leading to a Culture of Democracy, a new WLP training manual that is still in development.  The workshop provided participants’ with a greater understanding of the new electoral processes, as well as successful strategies for advancing a democratic culture. Participants also discussed the challenges of political parties attempting to dodge the quota by running women candidates only in areas the party was unlikely to win seats, and the appointment of token women candidates at the expense of those with a strong political voice.  After the workshop, WYDII continued to provide training and assistance for media interviews, debates, and talking about the quota system.

Fourteen of the 21 women who participated in the workshop went on to run in the April elections for local, provincial, and national legislative seats. At the time of the elections, 2,434 out of 6,576 candidates for national office (37%) were women. The election results are scheduled to be announced May 7-9, 2014.

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