The journey of turning the Indonesian extractive sector into an accountable and transparent one carries along an agenda to restore the spaces taken from women through an inclusive and gender-fair developmental framework. The government itself recognizes the importance of gender mainstreaming through Inpres No. 9, 2000 (President of the Republic of Indonesia, 2000).

Fundamentally, the benefits of natural and other resources depend on how they are distributed and managed to support public welfare and ensure fair, equal, and transparent distribution. However, management becomes problematic when natural resources, specifically the extractive sector, were selected solely in the interest of exploitation and accumulation for a particular group, where this will directly impact the environment, living quality, and livelihood of the people whose prosperity depends on the existing resources.

There exists a number of institutional and structural problems limiting the space and access for women and other vulnerable groups, especially in getting access and control over natural resources and proper livelihood (Bappenas, 2006). Within the discourse of a nation with an abundance of natural resources, the extractive sector tends to be made into an exclusive and untouchable sector to perpetuate corruption and fraudulent activities. This practice includes the formulation of policies and decisions that actively marginalize women and other vulnerable groups from spaces within the extractive sector itself and the decision and policies making process concerning the management of this sector. According to a report by Natural Resource Governance Institute (2021)  women in countries that depend largely on mineral resources face higher inequalities. This is in line with how the problematic management of the extractive sector that remains exclusive and based on the logic of exploitation would limit women’s space and access and perpetuates gender inequality.

 Indonesian Women Fought for Equality within the Extractive Sector

In the last couple of years, various women’s organizations in Indonesia have played major roles in guiding, leading, and being the center of various negotiations concerning the extractive industry. Women organizations such as the movements against the iron mine in Sumba, East Nusa,  women organizations in Pati and Rembang, and the ongoing struggles of the women of Kendeng, West Java (Umar, 2012). These struggles are proof of how the women affected by policies that don’t accommodate the local voice and knowledge could unite and act to fight for justice.

In the themed discussion organized by PWYP Indonesia concerning gender mainstreaming and inclusive development (5/2/2021), Risma Umar, Head of WALHI’s National Council, described how these grass-root movements initiated by women are the manifestation of women’s connection and knowledge as part of the living environment. When there are environmental damages, such as water and air pollution caused by extractive industries, it would directly impact women as a group that plays a large role in managing daily life, even all the way down at the household level.

Vandana Shiva (2012) describes the bond or connection between women and nature as the foundation for women’s movements in seeking justice for the exploitation of nature. Shiva explains that there exists an agency or a holistic impetus from the existing bond between the life-givers and sources of life. Therefore, the future that this movement fights for is a dream for development that doesn’t marginalize women and for society to co-exist with nature instead of merely exploiting its resources.

Indonesian Women in Decision Making

Nowadays, women begin to fill important stakeholder positions, starting at the ministry level, regional government, company leaders et cetera. Policies, national laws, and legal frameworks supporting the creation of public spaces and opportunities for Indonesian women to participate starts appearing within the national constitution. This is reflected in the ratification of the Convention on the Eliminations of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1984 to the recognition of gender-equal development through Perpres No. 65, 2020 (President of the Republic of Indonesia, 2020) which is then followed up through National Mid-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2020-2024.

However, this process still needs to be improved, especially within the extractive sector. Not only due to the low participation rate and the minimal involvement of women workers within the industry. Looking at data from Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative or EITI, Indonesia still hasn’t fulfilled her commitment as a member nation of EITI, one of which is releasing employment data sorted by gender, and revealing gender-sensitive data concerning social spendings of extractive industries (EITI, 2020). Here we can see that the change in policies does not magically solve the structural problems facing women in the extractive sector.

It is important to understand that the institutional achievements of Indonesian women need to be strengthened even more. Two things that could serve as the foundation for the continuous women advocation and in policymaking is the implementation of gender auditing or review process with an emphasis on gender perspective in evaluating the institution and performance of the current government (Conteh, 2016). Presently, the Indonesian Government is able to see beyond inequality measures through Gender Analysis Pathway in formulating policies. Gender audit on its own is able to give the public a space to evaluate and participate within the reformations, both on the bureaucracy and the ongoing development projects. Secondly, the presence of external and international pressure. A number of international organizations and corporations have begun to require their partner nations to implement gender-equal values in business and governance (True, 2010). Indonesia as part of EITI is required to meet the standard concerning transparency and accountability in the extractive sector, which requires the fulfillment of gender-equal values in practice.


Referring to the question at the beginning concerning the standing of women within the Indonesian extractive sector, we can conclude that the realization of accountable and transparent management of the extractive sector requires the participation of women. Women must take part in the process to reclaim spaces taken over in the interest of exploitation, especially within the decision-making process concerning the management and inclusive development, and also in monitoring the implementation of the formulated policies. This is an important thing to do so that in the future, all the things achieved in the struggles continue to run smoothly instead of stagnating as mere formalities.

By: Habibah Hasnah Hermanadi, Program Assistant Intern PWYP Indonesia





Conteh, J. A. (2016). Gender Audit. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies, 1-3.

Shiva, V. (2016). Staying alive: Women, ecology, and development. North Atlantic Books.

True, J. (2010). Mainstreaming gender in international institutions. Gender Matters in Global Politics: A feminist introduction to international relations, 189-203.

Umar, R. (2012). Menguai Realita Pemiskinan Perempuan di Tengah Konflik Sumber Daya Alam (1st ed.). DKI Jakarta: Solidaritas Perempuan.

 Government Documents

Kementrian Perencanaan dan Pembangunan Nasional. (2006). Evaluasi Pegarusutamaan Gender di Sembilan Sektor Evaluasi Pelaksanaan. Jakarta: Bappenas.

Presiden Republik Indonesia. Instruksi Presiden Nomor 9 Tahun 2000 (2000). Jakarta.

Presiden Republik Indonesia. Peraturan Presiden nomor 65 tentang Kementerian Pemberdayaan Perempuan dan Perlindungan Anak 2020 (2020). Jakarta.

Online Media

EITI. (2020). Towards a more gender-inclusive extractives sector.Diakses pada 9 Maret 2021, dari laman

NRGI. (2020). How Can Extractive Sector Laws and Policies Contribute to Gender Equality?. Diakses pada tanggal 9 Maret 2021, dari laman