Gender And Politics Under the Suharto Regime 1966 - 1998

Norma Sullivan
Content Type
Working Paper
Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, City University of New York
This paper describes the relationship between gender and politics in Indonesia under the autocratic Suharto Regime. It provides an historical context for a future study of gender relations under the democratically elected Wahid government. The role of women in politics and government during the Suharto years is elucidated, as is the role of the national 'non-political' women's movement in national development. Contradictions are highlighted in this relationship, and links between scholarly and state planning discourses about the relations between women and men and their proper roles in national development are established. Methods by which women resisted State ideologies within the movement and in the community are described. The paper concludes that during the Suharto period structural inequality existed between men and women in Indonesia. This reality was to some extent concealed by the political ideologies of the Suharto State that argued, from a functionalist/consensus perspective, that while men and women played different roles in different social spheres, these roles were complementary and equal. Such gender stereotyping made it difficult for men and women to operate outside their prescribed roles and fields. It also denied that at the level of everyday life women and men found themselves in contradictory situations where sex-role stereotyping was irrelevant
Development, Gender Issues, Human Welfare
Political Geography
Indonesia, Asia