May 6, 2021, 12.34 PM

Broken systems hurt women during the Covid-19 pandemic

As the Covid-19 pandemic deepens economic and social stress coupled with restricted movement and social isolation measures, gender-based violence is increasing exponentially. Many women are being forced to ‘lockdown’ at home with their abusers at the same time that services to support survivors are being disrupted or made inaccessible.

All of these impacts are further amplified in contexts of fragility, conflict, and emergencies where social cohesion is already undermined and institutional capacity and services are limited.

Indonesian women carry the burden of unpaid work, including caregiving, due to persistent gender inequality in Indonesian society and segregation in the labor market. This burden has only multiplied during the pandemic.

“The cause is not the current pandemic. Before the pandemic, this already happened. However, the pandemic has made things worse and when the pandemic is over one day, do we still want to see the same society where women and minority groups are facing oppression? I don’t,” said Vivi.

For this reason, it then became one of Vivi’s demands for the government that she brought through the 2021 Women’s March Jakarta: the haunting Shadow Pandemic of increasing violence and discrimination, making women and minority groups more vulnerable than ever.

In Women’s March Jakarta every year, people of different genders, occupations, and religions gathered to show their support for better protection and empowerment of women amid rampant violence perpetrated against them.

Activists gave the government demands that cover various topics, including the long-awaited sexual violence and domestic worker protection bills, the elimination or revision of discriminative laws and by-laws as well as social protection for every gender and social group.

The annual march is only a part of the broad feminism movement across Indonesia. It was organized by feminist groups in the capital, including the famously vocal Jakarta Feminist Discussion Group. However, the common wrongheaded thinking about feminism, said Vivi, is that only certain people qualify to fight the battle for women’s rights.

“If I was only looking at myself, sheltered with all of those privileges and that my family is very supportive towards gender equality, I would not think there was a problem.”

“However, I believe in intersectional feminism. I am not free until every woman is free despite their struggles being very different from my own. I will not rest until everyone has their freedom. That is how far I think my fights will go,” she added.

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