Indonesia: Women activists lobby Governor of South Sulawesi

Successful Policy Dialogue by Solidaritas Perempuan Anging Mammiri, Sulawesi Selatan, Indonesia
"Today, 28 May 2008, we – together with Koalisi Aktivis Perempuan Sulawesi Selatan (Coalition of Women Activists in South Sulawesi) – were granted an audience with the Governor of the South Sulawesi Province about the Regional Regulations that discriminate against women. Solidaritas Perempuan in Anging Mammiri was entrusted with the task of writing a letter to explain to the Governor about our concerns regarding fundamentalism; we also spoke directly with the Governor about facts related to this issue.
As a result of the meeting today, the Governor, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, agreed that religion should not be used as a tool to discriminate against women. He will take follow-up action to issue a Governor's Regulation (Peraturan Gubernur [PERGUB]) to instruct that policies should not discriminate against women. He also asked our coalition to give inputs to the proposed Governor's Regulation, which is of great relevance to discriminatory local regulations, and which is intended to give women access and control of the means to empower themselves, and to enshrine justice and gender equality in every institution in South Sulawesi. This regulation will be disseminated to all the 23 bupati ('regents' – i.e. district heads) in each regency for implementation.

We really welcome this proposal by the Governor. We also plan to have a separate audience with him to communicate what has been done by SP-AM as part of WEMC research. Our possible recommendation will be to abolish regional and village regulations that, in the name of religion, justify discrimination against women and place women in the position of 'victims'.

We realize that this activity is not in accordance with our original plans whereby we thought we would start with an audience with the regent and legislative body in the Bulukumba Regency first. However, we think this is a very good step because our opinion received a positive response from the Governor who has great influence in the formulation of the regulations at the level of the regency and the city."

Wahidah Rustam
The WEMC Research Coordinator of Solidaritas Perumpuan in South Sulewesi, Indonesia.