As the world’s fourth most populous country, with over 230 million people, Indonesia also has one of the world’s largest economies. While Indonesia’s dynamic economy has allowed it to reach middle-income status, economic growth has been uneven throughout the country, both geographically, and demographically. Indonesia’s women are among those to have not benefited equally from the country’s economic expansion. Indeed, Indonesian women face unequal employment opportunities, receive unequal pay—the average wage for female workers is only about 79 percent of the average wage for male workers—and have more restricted access to financial services. Beyond economic disadvantages, Indonesian women are also confronted with a host of social constraints, such as patriarchal practices, including early, child, or forced marriage, and forced divorce. Given the many barriers faced by Indonesia’s women, the country ranks poorly on the Gender Inequality Index, placing 121 out of 162. Although Indonesia’s Constitution guarantees gender equality and the Government of Indonesia (GOI) has enacted a strong legal and regulatory framework to support gender equality, it is clear that there is still much work to be done to overcome the country’s persistent gender inequality.
Since 2000, the GOI has made significant efforts to develop a framework for gender mainstreaming, defined by the United Nations Economic and Social Council as “a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated.” The issuance of Presidential Decree No. 9/2001 sets out the context and provides the implementation guidelines for gender mainstreaming in Indonesia. Specifically, gender equality considerations are mainstreamed into planning processes and, subsequently, budgeting processes, thus making gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) mandatory for Indonesia’s government agencies. Additionally, government agencies must abide by the nation’s cohesive gender-responsive planning processes.
In 2012, Indonesia’s gender-responsive planning and budgeting (GRPB) was formally implemented through the National Strategy to Accelerate Gender Mainstreaming through GRPB. The National Strategy was signed by four ministries: the Ministry of Development Planning (Bappenas), the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, and the Ministry of Home Affairs, which works with sub-national entities.
The National Strategy was developed to ensure that GRPB implementation both at the national and regional level is aligned, systemized, on target, and also supports the practice of good governance and sustainable development as well as Indonesia’s achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Since 2014, GRPB has been implemented in 36 ministries and agencies and across all 34 of Indonesia’s provinces, affirming the GOI’s position that GRPB is an important tool to improve the transparency, accountability, effectiveness, and efficiency of public expenditure management. More importantly, it also helps to ensure a more equitable distribution of public finances for women.
Presently, the GOI is drafting a new presidential decree that lays out up-to-date approaches to GRPB and accelerates its implementation. Bappenas requested USAID’s support through the Economic Growth Support Activity (EGSA), implemented by DevTech, to facilitate an up-to-date review and make recommendations on Indonesia’s approach to gender budgeting, highlighting its successes and areas for improvement.
EGSA completed its GRPB report in late 2021 and presented its findings and recommendations to Bappenas’ Director of Family, Women, Child, and Youth, Ms. Woro Sulistyaningrum, and her team. The report found that while Indonesia has a strong legal and regulatory framework to support gender equality, there was still a skill gap among line ministries, a lack of disaggregated data, and a lack of monitoring and evaluation to implement GRPB in Indonesia. In light of these findings, EGSA’s recommendations identified improvement opportunities in all areas of the GRPB cycle: from legislation, budgeting, and planning to monitoring and evaluation. These recommendations aimed to improve gender responsiveness in public policies at the national level and to develop practical tools for their implementation. EGSA also developed a specific tool for monitoring and evaluating the application of gender perspectives in government programs and projects.
EGSA’s recommendations were well received by Bappenas. Ms. Sulistyaningrum plans to share them with line ministries to improve the implementation of GRB in Indonesia. Additionally, EGSA’s recommendations will inform the GOI’s new decree to promote efforts toward reducing key gender gaps and better implementing GRPB.
The Economic Growth Support Activity (EGSA), implemented by DevTech Systems, Inc., aims to assist the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to re-engage in economic growth (EG) programming in Indonesia. To learn more about EGSA and its year two results, read the EGSA Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2021. EGSA’s GRPB Report is available in English and Bahasa Indonesia on USAID’s Development Experience Clearinghouse.