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Authors

Sofa Marwah

Abstract

The discussion of women and politics in Indonesia has been mostly confined to the national and regional levels since a law requiring a minimum of 30% female candidates in legislative elections took effect. There are, however, only a few studies of women and politics at the village level, examining women’s contributions to village development. This study aims to explain the gap between the lack of representation of coastal women in rural politics and the extensive contributions of women to rural economic development. This is a qualitative study that involves informants in village administration, women managing business groups, an empowerment program manager, and others. The study’s results show that women’s representation in politics and village administration is low, even though the female population is comparable to the male population. However, women contribute substantially to development of the rural economy in several sectors. These include empowerment programs, in which women act as managers, initiators, actors, and beneficiaries, as well as the management of fishing, tourism, and environmental conservation groups. The involvement of women in rural economic development is an extension of their traditional domestic role, while they lack the experience and social capital to enable them to actively participate in rural politics. The study highlights the importance of supporting women's representation through affirmative inclusion policies and political education for village women regarding political rights, the functions of village deliberation boards, the rules of village administration, etc. It also identifies a need to train government officials in gender sensitivity, so they can support the goal of equal representation in rural politics.

Note on the Author

"Sofa Marwah is in the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Jenderal Soedirman University, Kampus Grendeng 53122 Purwokerto, Central Java, Indonesia. E-mail: sofamarwah75@gmail.com"

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