Opening the Wider Political Access for Papuan Women – The dominance of men in public and political spheres is still strong. However, recently the participation of indigenous Papuan women in political institutions and public institutions has been increasingly encouraging. Indigenous Papuan women are increasingly realizing that their people have potential that is not inferior to men, including in terms of leadership.

Leadership is basically regardless of gender barriers so that as individuals, women can also act as leaders. Many have linked the individual’s ability to lead with the biological aspects inherent in women. Even though linking it to it is completely irrelevant and not factual. Every individual, male or female, has the equal rights and opportunities to appear as a leader.

Therefore, it is time for Papuan women to fill the quota of representation in parliament at least 30 percent. The involvement of indigenous Papuan women in political and governmental institutions, as stated by the Chairperson of the Biak DPRD, Milka Rumaropen, has continued to increase from time to time.

To provide wider participation to Papuan women, political parties are asked to be able to recruit more than the 30 percent quota provided to provide access to Papuan women. One indicator of the current trend of increasing women’s representation can be seen in the Biak DPRD and Papua DPRP from the 1999 election to the 2019 election.

The results of the 1999 to 2014 elections show that the representation of Papuan women in the legislature is small as yet. However, as more and more political parties nominate Papuan women as candidates for legislative members, in the 2019 elections many women were elected to become members of the council.

In the Biak DPRD, for example, the 2019 election results placed four Papuan women as council members, two of whom were elected as DPRD Chairperson, namely Milka Rumaropen (PDIP faction) and Deputy Chairperson Aneta Kbarek (Golkar faction).

In line with the issuance of Law no. 2 of 2021 concerning the Special Autonomy of Papua, the opportunities for indigenous Papuan women to be elected are increasingly open Uncen Papua academic cum former Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Yohana Yembise stated that Papuan women must progress and not be confined in intellectual darkness. Papuan women who were previously only allowed to clean the house, cook, sew and take care of the children at home, are now able to enjoy education, health and political rights on an equal footing with men.

The duties and responsibilities of a woman are not just to be a complement to the household affairs. Instead, they must be able to discuss the direction of progress of the nation and the region. To be able to fight for their people, women’s representation in the political field must be enlarged, by getting involved in political organizations to become members of the legislature.

Women who enter politics, according to her, are still shackled by their background, patriarchal culture, and gender differences because there is still a vague notion that women have weaknesses and shortcomings. Therefore, Papuan women must be given the space and opportunity to express their potential to actively participate in building a land of Papua that is prosperous, just and upholds the values of tolerance.

Currently there are always efforts to overcome this problem so that in the future Papuan women can become rulers in their own country. Papuan women still face several obstacles to align themselves with men in various fields. To become a politician, for example, women’s opportunities are still relatively limited due to the bias in the perception of role division which limits women’s role only to household affairs.

The lack of representation of women in political institutions, among other things, is caused by the still strong patriarchal culture. The Law No. 10 of 2008 Article 55 paragraph 2 implements the zipper system which stipulates that at least one woman must be included in any position placement.

However, the fulfillment of the quota of 30 percent for women’s representation in parliamentary institutions must still be fought for. The quota was not reached and even raised internal pros and cons within certain political parties. The Chairperson of the Biak Numfor PKK Mobilization Team, Ruth Naomi Rumkabu emphasized that the involvement of Papuan women is an absolute requirement in efforts to realize equal and just development.

It is impossible for a country to prosper if women are let to remain left behind, marginalized, and become spectators of the pace of regional development. She invited all women in Numfor Regency to jointly assist the government’s program in realizing gender equality.

Women in the land of Papua are still lagging behind in the fields of education, health, the economy, and women’s representation in political and government institutions.

Papuan women face a number of challenges, including the incessant changes in modernization in all walks of life and in the family environment. The influence of modernization has led to changes in values or social order that are not in accordance with local customs and traditions.

Papua is still strong with patriarchal culture so that women are reagrded as weak and incapable. The leadership factor is also very closely related to the selection process in political parties. Selection of female candidates is usually carried out by a small group of party leaders, who are almost always dominated by men.

Another obstacle is that Papuan women still lack confidence in their abilities and competencies. The mass media also plays an important role in building public opinion regarding the importance of women’s representation in parliament and government.

Meanwhile, another challenge faced by Papuan women is limited financial resources.

Entering the world of politics, women do not only rely on intellectual abilities but must be supported by other capacities. Papuan women are often faced with men in fighting over seats in government and social life.

In the practice of democracy in Papua, there is no justification for discrimination, sparation or classification in society based on gender. All Papuans must be considered as the same entity and must be treated fairly in the political, economic and social spheres.

Implementation of Law No. 2 of 2021 concerning special autonomy for Papua also provides special rights for Papuan women’s representatives to be able to take part in the cultural institution of the Papuan People’s Council. Whereas Government Regulation 106 of 2021 concerning Filling in the DPRP Members who are appointed 1/4 (one quarter) times the number of DPRP members who are elected through elections. As for DPRK members who are appointed from indigenous Papuan elements as much as 1/4 (one quarter) times the number of DPRK members, this opens the opportunity for Papuan women to become members of the legislature by appointing the special autonomy route. The existence of this special policy ensures that Papuan women get access to the public sector, including in political and government institutions.

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