Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Education plays a pivotal role in creating a more inclusive society for Indonesian women aiming to ensure gender equality, which is often associated with human rights and sustainable development.
Unfortunately, this may be a long way ahead with Indonesia ranking 116th out of 189 countries in terms of Gender Inequality Index (GII).
On a summit held by humanitarian organization Plan International in Jakarta on Tuesday, female education is said to be the answer to this issue.
Several initiatives have been taken by the government to advance female education including scholarship called the Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education, or LPDP. This scholarship program – collaboration between finance, education and religious affairs ministries – allows its recipients to pursue master or doctoral degrees abroad.
According to the Ministry of Finance data, there was an increase in female LPDP recipients. Female recipients made up of 52.4 percent of the total recipients in 2019, compared to 46.9 percent in 2013.
For the women's empowerment agenda to be truly in progress, however, a collaborative effort is necessary.
"The government cannot stand alone in this matter. Other parties including public figures, millennials, NGOs and philanthropists need to be involved as well," Ghafur Dharmaputra, a deputy for the women's empowerment and and child protection minister, said when opening the event.
Millenial participation in women's empowerment is seen in Suci, who leads a child protection group in West Lombok. The 19-year-old activist mainly focused on tackling against forced child marriage as one of the biggest hurdles in female education.
Apart from formal education, family involvement as the smallest unit in society is also crucial in instilling gender equality since childhood.
"It is necessary for families to educate about gender equality for their children. Regardless of their gender, children need to be taught domestic chores. We should not tell them that certain toys such as dolls can only be played by girls and cars are only meant for boys. Children will learn that both men and women are equal," Ghafur said.