Women, Power & Politics

May 11th, 2009, in Opinion, by

More women politicians is what is needed, some say.

Women and Power

What on earth is all the fuss about the number of women in parliament here? (see Quota for Women - 30%)

A Constitutional Court ruling blocked the absurd idea of forcing parties to leap-frog women over men regardless of the votes won, as if a legislature should somehow mirror a society in its every aspect.

Being left-handed can bring problems, but I don't suggest that the legislatures that represent me be forced to contain a 'fair' proportion of south-paws. Do blondes or red-heads - or guys with receding hair-lines - expect better representation from MPs whose locks (or lack of) resemble their own? It's plain daft.

Politics is about policies, party programmes, not one's posture when peeing.

Women - for whom I have high regard, as any who know me will testify - can be excellent politicians, and perhaps because fewer of them enter politics, a matter of personal choice, those who rise are often much better than their male counterparts; by way of example, I could offer Margaret Thatcher in Britain, Senator Ann Cools in Canada or Sarah Palin in the USA, and folks who don't like my choices can almost certainly adduce lefty ladies who play major roles in their parties.


Ex beauty queen now politician Angelina Sondakh

Here in Jakarta, Ibu Mega is not a special heroine of mine, but she reached the Istana Negara, and every time we see any of the parties on tv, there are plenty of doughty gals on hand. The abundance of pretty actresses who get nominated indicates that Indonesian voters have no perceived reluctance to vote for women, only that they like their women politicians cute, which might not be a bad idea to export to the West.

That last comment was light-hearted, but on a serious note, it is a shame that neo-imperialist Western busy-bodies are trying to export their 'gender' ideologies to Asia.


Foreign busybody Michael Foster

Just last week, we had Michael Foster, UK parliamentary under secretary of state for international development (JG 8/5) in Jakarta, rabbiting on, in a high-handed and unacceptable tone.

The main issue is how we can get more women into the DPR.

We? It is none of his business. If Indonesian parties put up more women candidates and Indonesian voters elect them, fine - the electorate could have voted in hundreds of females recently if they'd been simple-minded enough to choose representatives solely on their 'gender' - but that is surely a matter for Indonesians, not for some pin-striped Briton.

(If Foster were genuinely interested in a fair go for women here, he'd be pressing SBY to ban polygamy (or else legalise polyandry!) and to distance himself from PKS bigots whose beloved sharia enforces iniquitous inheritance rules. (He won't, of course - his own government back home has pandered to just such sexist practices, awarding social welfare benefits to primitives who take multiple wives.)

Indonesian women are no simpletons. If they want power, they'll get it, but they don't need imported left-liberal affirmative action programmes, which actually imply (and sustain) inferiority on the part of those they are allegedly introduced to promote.


57 Comments on “Women, Power & Politics”

  1. avatar David says:

    Margaret Thatcher in Britain, Senator Ann Cools in Canada or Sarah Palin in the USA

    There’s a likely trio! (ok, I’ll admit, never heard of Ann Cools).

    I agree generally though, if the proportion in parliament is 51:49 or whatever like it is in reality… well big deal.

  2. avatar Odinius says:

    Not a bad thing, as government should be representative of the population. But Sarah Palin is an awful example…she’s embarrassingly thick and represents a fairly ugly politics that I don’t think Indonesia wants to emulate.

    That points to the observation that the quality of women politicians varies as wildly as those of their male counterparts. For every Sri Mulyani Indrawati, you have a Sri Fadilah Supari…

  3. avatar Lairedion says:

    Sarah Palin? Sigh… have another Bintang at your favourite Jaksa joint, Ross. 🙂

    Maggie Thatcher? Not gonna discuss her political orientation or merits but she’s a prime example of a Western neo-imperialist busybody albeit with a different objective than Michael Foster.

    In general, nothing wrong with advocating for women’s rights…

  4. avatar David says:

    Yes Ross, putting Thatcher and Palin in the same sentence….Thatcher was a smart lady and a class act, but Palin – nothing wrong with being a ‘soccer mom’ and a ‘maverick’ but it just doesn’t measure up to someone like Maggie, whether you agree with her politics or not – my own view of her is an “A-” on foreign policy (minus is for Hong Kong) and a “C” on domestic and economic policy.

  5. avatar amaryllisfaye says:

    The main issue is how we can get more women into the DPR.

    We? It is none of his business. If Indonesian parties put up more women candidates and Indonesian voters elect them, fine – the electorate could have voted in hundreds of females recently if they’d been simple-minded enough to choose representatives solely on their ‘gender’ – but that is surely a matter for Indonesians, not for some pin-striped Briton. (emphasis added)

    I couldn’t agree more. But it’s always the case isn’t it? People never seem to be satisfied with simply minding their own business, and it goes for almost everything. And the sad thing about this particular issue is that they (‘they’ here refers to people like Foster) don’t realize that women being involved in Indonesian government is nothing new.

    Btw I’m new here, so a big hi to everyone!

  6. avatar rayner says:

    Polygamy is illegal in Britain. However i agree that Britain should stay out of advising other countries on how to behave. They really need to put their own house in order.

    Historically the most stable and benign countries in which to live were the Scandinavian group. They had a ratio of women elected 49/51. Nearly 40% of their CEO’s were women and they had the most incredible benefit system, free education, and health care. Nursery workers have to have a degree and they are up there with good pay and benefits.

    I visited and lived there in 1962 and while there was some grumbles about the high rate of taxation that went to pay for the benefits, most high earners that I spoke to were aware of the problems that low rates of taxation brought to other cultures. They definitely didn’t want the high levels of poverty, homelessness and crime that made living in Britain so miserable. Sharing their wealth was a small price to pay.

  7. avatar Ross says:

    Patung, I tend to agree with your scores for Maggie, her main failure in my eyes being Rhodesia.

    But Palin? She was infinitely more qualified for high office than Obama, whose credentials, apart from a couple of years as a junior senator, were those of a street agitator befriended by unrepentant terrorists like William Ayers.

    Senator Ann Cools was appointed as a Liberal but shocked her erstwhile patrons by talking sense.

    Anyway, welcome to Amaryllisfaye – your comments are sensible indeed.

  8. avatar Ross says:

    Sorry, I missed Rayner’s point- yes, polygamy is illegal, but the UK authorities are so gutless in the face of Islamist whining that they don’t search out such crims and prosecute them. Also, Labour has sanctioned payment of welfare benefts to these polygamous morons, despite their criminal status.

  9. avatar Odinius says:

    Ross said:

    But Palin? She was infinitely more qualified for high office than Obama, whose credentials, apart from a couple of years as a junior senator, were those of a street agitator befriended by unrepentant terrorists like William Ayers.

    Are you kidding me? Former editor of the Harvard Law Review vs. someone who’s unscripted moments were so disturbingly vapid that they made Dubya look like Jefferson.

  10. avatar Ricardo Atencia says:

    In the Philippines corporate world, the women executives now outnumbered men! From what I have read, it is the leading country where women executives (meaning from managerial level up) has overtaken the men. This is not surprising for a country that gives equal treatment to women and obviously they outdo men in the fields of most studies esp. in business and commerce. I believed the Republic of Indonesia is not that far behind, only if the Indonesians acknowledge that women could be great leaders as well (both in government, corporate and other human endeavours!).

    Cheers,

    Ricardo

  11. avatar Lairedion says:

    Ross,

    I agree with you Foster shouldn’t stick his nose in Indonesian affairs but praising Palin is quite laughable. She embarrassed a lot of fellow conservatives with her outright stupidity and this has proven to be disastrous, certainly after her Katie Couric interviews.

    Ricardo,

    This sounds familiar with Minahasan (North Sulawesi) society which is closer related to the Philippines than Java. In pre-colonial times women held high positions and the conversion to Protestantism by the Dutch had little impact on that phenomenon. In fact, now we see a high number of female ministers in the various Protestant churches in Minahasa and you will see many Minahasan females running businesses.

  12. avatar Cukurungan says:

    In the Philippines corporate world, the women executives now outnumbered men! From what I have read, it is the leading country where women executives (meaning from managerial level up) has overtaken the men. This is not surprising for a country that gives equal treatment to women and obviously they outdo men in the fields of most studies esp. in business and commerce. I believed the Republic of Indonesia is not that far behind, only if the Indonesians acknowledge that women could be great leaders as well (both in government, corporate and other human endeavours!).

    What is the advantage for the Philipines having the women executives outnumbered men! Are Philipines economy and business running better than Singapore or Malaysia ? Are philipines more wealthier than their neighboor countries?

    Sorry at the moment I failed to see anything good to have more women on power except more disposal of the women work such as ironing work , baby sitting, cooking cleaning house to the men.

  13. avatar sputjam says:

    Two muslim majority countries had women prime ministers – Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    In today’s world, women outnumber men in higher educational institutions, and the trend is rising worldwide.

    With advances in science, women do not require men anymore.

  14. avatar Kinch says:

    Riccardo baby, take three guesses how they got to nearly (but certainly not) the top 😀

    As for women parliamentarians, it was a mistake giving women the vote!

  15. avatar katadia says:

    Cukurungan,

    You are spot on! We want men like you to take on ironing, ass wiping, cooking, dishwashing, toilet scrubbing and perhaps taking the garbage out too! This is precisely the one underlying idea behind the quota. So glad you figured that out!

    Ross,

    Your last point is like saying that: no we don’t need to give female factory workers extra leave allowances for period-related illness because that’s just going to “imply (and sustain) inferiority” of female workers.

  16. avatar ET says:

    sputjam said

    In today’s world, women outnumber men in higher educational institutions, and the trend is rising worldwide.

    This is a blessing. Finally we men will be able to concentrate on our core duties, i.e. destroying our enemies and impregnate the females.

    Merdeka!

  17. avatar Ashlee says:

    Here’s your argument, summarized.

    Politics is about who gets voted in… people should be voted in on their credentials.

    EXCEPT women, they should be voted in for their looks. Let’s get the West to also reject any tiny steps they have made towards some sort of feminism, and get in on this voting of hot chicks into politics as well.

    See how you have completely invalidated your first claim by objectifying women? Nice work on the misogyny.

    I don’t see you advocating for the Indonesian constituency to stop voting in former war criminals and guys who frankly, aren’t handsome. Double standards much?

    This kind of nonsense is exactly why there needs to be encouragement for more women to get into politics. Because there are a lot of idiots out there, both in the general public and in positions of power within political parties, who do think women politicians should be all boobs and no brains. The examples of strong, well known, powerful female politicians are still very small. Mega is only in the position she is because she is from a family of political elites. What other women have risen to her position, without the backing of a powerful political father? I have no doubt that many many more Indonesian women have the skills and tenacity to make it as shrewd politicians… but it seems like there must be something standing in their way… possibly the old boys club?

    If you can’t see that there is a huge inequality that needs to be addressed, particularly in Indonesia, a developing country where so many women are disempowered by poverty and their own social situation, you need to stop thinking with that thing inside your pants and use your brain instead. Affirmative action is not about disempowerment or implying inferiority… it’s about helping those who are skilled but not able to penetrate the system because of the glass ceiling put in place by insecure males. The only inferiority it suggests is that the majority of males in power are doing something wrong by not creating a political sphere that is fair to both sexes.

  18. avatar Ross says:

    Ashlee, your outburst suggests something is wrong but I don’t see what. My original comment on cuties was light-hearted, and I even said so because I know some pinkos often lack humour, but you’re getting all uptight.
    Why should women candidates with less votes than men get elected over their more popular opponents….it’s daft.
    Oya, Patung, I see you and Achmad have been busy over the last few days trying to stage an insult-duel. I actually don’t turn to IM every day, so Monday morning is not a fine time to urge me into inspiration.
    I’ll watch out for A’s first salvo and respond when I am free to do so. Same rules as agreed previously, no obscenity, no personaliised insults against family or indeed friends -let’s keep it man to man.

  19. avatar David says:

    Ok Ross, I’ll put the post for the duel up later today, it’ll be the third item down in the “Opinion” section, called ‘300’, have at it as you have time.

  20. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Seksi Pak Patoengs Yth.,

    Not-so-Seksi Pak Rosses,

    Any other caveats ? Is 300 words too long ? Too short ? It’s a bit hard to have an insult-a-thon without getting personal, though I’ll try to keep the insults professional, as in no family or friends, but I think sexual performance and personality are completely fair game…

    No ?

    Happy to discuss before we get into it…

  21. avatar Astrajingga says:

    I love women in power. I don’t care if they can better govern the state or a corporation.

    After those stupid male scientist invented cloning technique, I really hope that we, men, still have a function on earth.

    I love women in uniform too.

  22. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Skyhooks video for you, Astra:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sb4AdU6rbFc

  23. avatar Astrajingga says:

    Thanks mate!

    Oooh they’re so beautiful and seksi in uniform, lovely! Fabulous! All of them…. God know how I love women in uniform, let alone with Skyhooks’ in soundtrack. Soooo thrilling… exhilarating… I got goosebumps all over my body…

    PS: Aren’t some of them are men in uniform?

    Oh I don’t care….

    I love them, I love everything in uniform…. I love ashtrays, pails…. spoons in uniform. Everything! Just everything!

  24. avatar Ross says:

    Well, Achmad, I have never met you, nor you me, so attacks on sexual performance would seem silly, unless you’ve been interviewing my ex-es.
    As for personality, if you can gauge such from IM posting, terserah.
    Ya, 300 words oughta be enough, but I can’t guarantee to be at it every day (oh, no – performance again?!?)

  25. avatar David says:

    300 words is good, I’ve set up a voting thing, but is the voting per round or for the whole bout?

    Edit – here

    http://www.indonesiamatters.com/5007/achmad-ross-insults/

  26. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    @ Pak Patoengs,

    All fine — but we might have to stretch the 3 days thing in practice.

    @ Ross, it’s ok, you obviously seem like a guy who, um, finishes early, or has problems rising to the occasion.

  27. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    ps – i’ll send first missive tomorrow.

  28. avatar Achmad Sudarsono says:

    oh, also Patoengs, on voting, per round, you’d need 3 judges. otherwise popular vote for the whole thing.

  29. avatar Astrajingga says:

    Where’s the ring? Where’s the ring? Show me! Show me! Show me! I wanna, I wanna, I wanna!

  30. avatar David says:

    Back to topic, Poso in Central Sulawesi is now famous for another reason – their 30 seat parliament doesn’t have a single woman.. out of 150 odd women that ran. tempo

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