against Women

Thirty-ninth session

Summary record of the 799th meeting (Chamber A)

Held at Headquarters, New York, on Friday, 27 July 2007, at 10 a.m.

Chair person:Ms. Gabr (Vice-Chairperson)


Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention (continued)

Combined fourth and fifth periodic report of Indonesia

In the absence of Ms. Šimonović, Ms. Gabr, Vice-Chairperson, took the Chair.

The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m.

Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention (continued)

Combined fourth and fifth periodic report of Indonesia (CEDAW/C/IDN/4-5; CEDAW/C/IDN/Q/5 and Add.1)

1. At the invitation of the Chairperson, the members of the delegation of Indonesia took places at the Committee table.

2.Ms. Swasono (Indonesia), introducing the combined fourth and fifth periodic report of Indonesia (CEDAW/C/IDN/4-5), said that four Indonesian women had sat on the Committee during its 25-year existence. The experience that they had gained had benefited national efforts to improve the status of Indonesian women. The Committee’s concluding comments on Indonesia’s previous reports had been taken into account in the preparation of the combined fourth and fifth report, and various stakeholders had participated in the drafting process. Promotion of the rights of women had always been a priority for her Government, and women’s issues had been integrated into the country’s development programmes.

3.The period covered by the report constituted a crucial phase in Indonesia’s development as a nation: following the downfall of the Suharto regime, Indonesia had begun a process of transformation based on the principles of democratization, economic rehabilitation, respect for and promotion of human rights, the upholding of the rule of law and wide-ranging decentralization. The period had also seen the election of the country’s first woman President. Although many challenges continued to hamper the full implementation of the Convention, strategic plans had been adopted to address those challenges and to advance the cause of gender equality, with strong emphasis on the need for partnership among all stakeholders at all levels. Women’s organizations were gaining strength and were pressing for the elimination of discrimination against women.

4.The Law on Domestic Violence, which had been adopted in 2004, provided for protection and rehabilitation for victims of violence and penalties for the perpetrators. The Protection of Witnesses and Victims Act had also been adopted recently. The Health Act was being amended to ensure equal treatment for women and to include provisions on women’s reproductive health and rights, and the Citizenship Act had been amended to prevent discrimination against Indonesian women with foreign spouses. The Population Act had been amended to guarantee the availability of birth certificates to babies born into poor families, a measure that would help to curb the identification fraud involved in human trafficking.

5.Women were particularly vulnerable to trafficking, both overseas and within Indonesia, and the violence associated with it. The Child Protection Act provided for fines for child traffickers, while the Act on the Elimination of Human Trafficking afforded protection to victims of all ages. The second National Action Plan on Human Rights had facilitated preparations for the ratification of the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. A special agency had also been set up to protect women migrants at risk of trafficking, to carry out advocacy and capacity-building, and to increase awareness of the issues surrounding trafficking.

6.In 2006, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants had visited Indonesia at the invitation of the Government and had examined all aspects of migration, giving particular attention to the situation of female domestic workers living both inside and outside the country. He had recommended that steps should be taken to improve the regulation and monitoring of the recruitment of such workers. In the light of the transnational nature of the problem, Indonesia had signed memorandums of understanding with Malaysia, Jordan and Hong Kong, as receiving countries, to ensure the protection of women migrant workers in those States.

7.Marriage Law No. 1 had been amended to bring it into line with the Convention with regard to the issues of polygamy and the minimum age of marriage. The 2007 Law on Natural Disaster Management included provisions concerning the basic needs of women during the emergency phase of natural disaster management. Women’s and children’s centres operating in 17 provinces provided services to protect women and improve their quality of life. Other agencies throughout the country were involved in action to empower women, research on gender issues for use in policy formulation, and advocacy work.

8.The Long-Term Development Plan 2005-2025 addressed the issues of gender, women and children, including matters pertaining to violence, exploitation and discrimination. The ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights would help to strengthen national awareness that women’s rights were human rights.

9.The draft national plan of action on gender mainstreaming in national development would give effect to the various provisions of the Convention and create a framework for the implementation of gender mainstreaming throughout the country. Local governments were formulating their own plans for implementation at the provincial, district and municipal levels. Pursuant to Presidential Instruction No. 9 of 2000 on Gender Mainstreaming in National Development, a number of working groups and women’s bureaus, together with some 300 gender focal points, were also involved in implementation nationwide.

10.The Government had been working in close collaboration with provincial authorities, civil society organizations and United Nations agencies in four main areas: the enactment of legislation free of gender bias and the review of existing laws in order to eliminate gender bias; the upgrading of women’s quality of life, as measured by the human development index; the protection of women from violence; and the removal of barriers to women’s involvement in public life. Recent initiatives had been put forward for the eradication of illiteracy among women aged 15 to 44 and the provision of schooling assistance for poor families. The Mother-Friendly Movement, which had helped to reduce the maternal and infant mortality rates over the past 11 years, had recently been relaunched in an effort to reduce the rates still further.

11.With regard to the economic position of women, a forum consisting of government agencies, banking institutions and women entrepreneurs had been established to facilitate women’s access to loans and other forms of credit, with preference being given to owners of micro- and small enterprises. Small loans were also being provided to women’s cooperatives throughout Indonesia.

12.To enhance women’s role in politics, political parties were being encouraged to abandon discriminatory practices, incorporate the gender perspective into their party platforms and ensure women’s access to leadership positions on an equal basis with men. Amendments to the Laws on General Elections and on Political Parties had been proposed in order to strengthen the links between Parliament and the Caucus of Women in Politics. However, it was recognized that more needed to be done to bolster the participation of women in politics.

13.Changes to the electoral system initiated by the President were expected to enable more women candidates to stand in general elections. An increase in the number of women parliamentarians would make it easier to enact strong legislation in favour of women and to ensure that adequate budgetary provision was made for development programmes benefiting women. Since 2006, provincial and district governments had been provided with central funding for the implementation of such programmes. It was hoped that they would match that funding with allocations of their own in the future.

14.Although progress had been made, a number of challenges remained to be overcome with regard to the empowerment of Indonesian women. First, the new laws and policies that had been adopted were not rigorously enforced, and lack of understanding of their provisions had undermined the process of implementation. Officials therefore needed to be educated about gender issues. Efforts must be made to change male mindsets, which were rooted in the culture of patriarchy that perpetuated the subordination of women. Women also needed to be made aware of their rights.

15.Second, because of the process of decentralization, local governments now had the authority to prioritize development policies, and the pace of implementation was therefore not uniform throughout the country. There was also resistance to change in some quarters. For example, in a growing number of areas, sharia law was being applied in a manner that discriminated against women and violated the Convention. Lastly, frequent natural disasters meant that a growing number of women were struggling just to survive. Often, their urgent needs were not met. Such women were in no position to increase the momentum for the achievement of women’s rights.

16.Indonesia was committed to taking all the necessary measures to accelerate the implementation of the Convention. Since many of the problems affecting Indonesian women, such as trafficking and poverty, were transnational in nature, Indonesia was counting on the continued support of the international community. It was also ready to share its experience in the promotion of women’s rights with other countries. It had hosted the 2004 Ministerial Meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), at which the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women in the ASEAN Region had been adopted. Indonesia had also been one of the main initiators of the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Migrants, adopted in 2007.

17.During the Asia-Africa Summit held in Jakarta in 2005, a workshop had taken place on the role of women and young people in building cooperation between the two continents. Among other things, the workshop participants had urged Asian and African leaders to help improve the situation of women. The Regional Ministerial Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific: the Way Forward 2015, also held in Jakarta in 2005, had likewise affirmed the importance of empowering women. The Jakarta Declaration adopted at that Meeting had recognized the importance of integrating gender equality and justice into the Goals.

18.Lastly, Indonesia would remain resolute in its efforts to implement the Convention and would continue to lobby decision-makers at all levels to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality. It would provide capacity-building and training to various organizations in order to increase their awareness of gender issues and would also encourage the media to display greater gender sensitivity in their work.

Articles 1 to 6

19.Ms. Dairiam, noting that there were still some 21 laws in effect in Indonesia that discriminated against women, asked whether the standards set out in the Convention automatically took precedence over discriminatory provisions of domestic law, in other words, whether the Convention was self-executing. If not, she wished to know what steps would be taken to ensure that the obligation to eliminate discrimination against women was made explicit in domestic law. The Committee also wished to know whether, in the event of a conflict between a provision of the Convention and domestic law, the Constitution stated which prevailed. If enabling legislation was needed in order to incorporate the Convention into domestic law, the State party should indicate whether it planned to enact such legislation.

20.The reporting State should explain whether and in what way the constitutional provisions protecting human rights and the right to equality were actionable, for example, whether women could cite the Constitution in claiming the right to equality, and whether there were any specific cases in which they had done so. She also asked what remedies and sanctions were provided for. It was important not only to be able to provide remedies to individual women whose rights had been violated but also to develop jurisprudence through which standards of equality could become part of the domestic legal order.

21.Noting that, under the process of decentralization, local governments enjoyed increased autonomy over certain matters, she expressed concern about the application of sharia law in some parts of the country in ways that discriminated against women. It was her understanding that the central Government had the authority to rescind local by-laws if it so chose. It therefore needed to be more forceful in exercising that authority in order to override discriminatory laws enacted at the local level.

22.Ms. Begum, having welcomed the progress made in the implementation of the Convention in Indonesia, said she hoped that Indonesia would consider ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention and approving the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention in the near future. The Government should without delay review and amend the 21 discriminatory laws mentioned in the responses to the list of issues and questions (CEDAW/C/IDN/Q/5/Add.1) and should also take action to revoke local regulations that discriminated against women. Positive steps also needed to be taken to implement the various progressive laws that had been enacted, such as the Presidential Instruction on Gender Mainstreaming in National Development and the Law on General Elections, which had introduced a commendable quota of 30 per cent for the number of women candidates.

23.Ms. Shin said that it was encouraging that Indonesia was moving towards reform and urged it to ratify the Optional Protocol, as this was an important tool for women in cases of rights violations. She thanked the delegation for its decision to amend article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention. In view of the decentralization process under way in Indonesia and in the context of reports of increasing religious fundamentalism in some parts of the country, she requested information on the authority of the central Government over local government with regard to the implementation of national policies on gender equality, and on means of reporting violations. Moreover, in view of reports that the dress code was enforced by religious police in some regions and that women who did not veil were denied access to services, she asked how the central Government prevented such occurrences and ensured that its gender policies were implemented by local government.

24.Further information was requested on the implementation of the Population Act and the registration of births, as it appeared that the policy was being applied unevenly and imposing additional financial burdens upon women. She asked how the Government ensured that women victims of the tsunami living in camps received basic emergency needs and were not subjected to sexual harassment and violence and whether any centre existed through which they could register complaints. In the context of reported abuses by and illegal payments to permanent housing aid officials, she also requested information on the monitoring of housing aid distribution and sought guarantees of good conduct on the part of officials.

25.Ms. Gaspard said that, in view of the size of Indonesia and the challenges that it faced in ensuring gender equality, it would be helpful if the machinery for doing so was strongly reinforced in terms of financial and human resources. While efforts to decentralize served to strengthen democracy and improve governance, they could also result in a backlash at the provincial level. It was the duty of the central Government to provide financial resources to the local authorities and ensure that the basic national laws and Constitution were respected, in particular with regard to human rights. The rights and autonomy of women were not assured in parts of the country and, in some cases, their rights had been limited. She asked what the State was doing to ensure that the Constitution and basic laws were not violated and that the Convention was being implemented and emphasized the importance of ensuring that women throughout Indonesia benefited from the positive developments, represented in a number of laws and programmes.

26.Ms. Neubauer noted that while the Ministry was the central national mechanism for women’s empowerment responsible for providing support to the promotion of gender mainstreaming, with coordinating, monitoring and advocacy roles in all ministries and Government institutions, it clearly had no mandate to implement programmes and plans. The Government should consider adding that role to the existing roles of the Ministry and ensure that sufficient resources and support were available for it to perform the tasks assigned to it. She sought clarification on the coordination and relationships between the various mechanisms established in order to support the implementation of the Presidential Instruction on gender mainstreaming and requested further information on the concrete measures employed in order to enhance functional capacity and understanding of gender mainstreaming in the framework of human rights.

27.Ms. Kalibonso (Indonesia) said that the Convention had been ratified in 1984 and her country had worked for the past decade to achieve the necessary legal reforms for its implementation. Women’s rights had been formally recognized as human rights, and national laws on the elimination of domestic violence, trafficking and witness protection had been reformed. The articles contained in the Convention pertaining to the political rights of women had been included in the national plan, and health laws were being amended significantly, to protect women’s rights in the sphere of reproductive health.

28.Ms. Swasono (Indonesia) explained that the concept of sharia law in Indonesia was distinct from that in other countries and did not threaten women who worked outside the home. The veil was customary, not compulsory, although in some provinces such as Aceh, the situation could be different. Indonesian sharia also did not stipulate cutting off the hands of thieves or the execution of adulteresses. She referred to the Egyptian custom of female circumcision in order to highlight the distinction between customary and Muslim practices.

29.Mr. Umar (Indonesia) emphasized that it was important to distinguish between Arab and Muslim practices. Support for sharia concepts came from secular political activists, rather than from the ulema. He cited as an example that the requirement to read the Qur’an arose from Indonesian custom, rather than from the sharia.

30.Ms. Swasono (Indonesia) explained that the Ministry for Women’s Empowerment held regular coordination meetings with the heads of all 33 provinces and conducted a number of other regular activities in order to ensure that it was in contact and acting in coordination with local government bureaus on gender budgeting, planning and programmes. The Ministry coordinated advocacy efforts, monitored progress, provided necessary facilities and provided models of implementation to the provinces.

31.Mr. Mulyana (Indonesia) further clarified that coordination between the central and local governments on women’s empowerment issues took the form of annual planning coordination meetings attended by officials from the Ministry, in addition to Governors, heads of provincial planning bureaus and bureaus for women’s empowerment, at which the programme for the coming fiscal year was discussed.

32.Ms. Swasono (Indonesia) explained that 5 per cent of the total budget of each sector must be set aside for the implementation of gender mainstreaming. Most sectors were making efforts to meet the required 5 per cent for women’s protection and welfare. Regular meetings were also held with provincial vice-governors responsible for women’s programmes. The issue of birth certificates, however, remained to be overcome.

33.Mr. Sudarmadi (Indonesia) clarified that the Government sought to provide services to the poor. Action was being taken in order to ensure that the poor were informed of their rights and knew where to go in order to obtain services such as family planning and free birth certificates. This year, the Population Act would be amended to reflect clearly the rights of the poor and the Government’s responsibility to them in that area.

34.Mr. Mulyana (Indonesia) said that the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued a circular letter instructing governors and district leaders to base local regulations on Regional Autonomy Law Number 32 of 2004. Aceh was the only province that was permitted to issue local regulations concerning the implementation of sharia law; other provinces must comply with national regulations.

35.Ms. Swasono (Indonesia) said that the Bureau of Rehabilitation and Reconstruction had launched a gender policy in 2006. Law No. 24/2007 on natural disaster management provided that, during the emergency phase, the first priority was to provide assistance to the most vulnerable members of the population. The Government had set up three trauma centres for women and children and 17 more were currently being constructed. In the agricultural sector, the Government was striving to provide training for women to increase their earning power. Women participated actively in farmers’ meetings and, at the present time, 80 per cent of the leaders of farmers’ groups were women.

36.Ms. Aripumami (Indonesia) said that there had been some positive developments with respect to the elimination of discriminatory laws in Indonesia; however, the Government was confronted with a complicated situation and continued to face numerous challenges. The national budget allocation for women and gender issues remained inadequate. Although the Government had decreed that each ministry should allocate 5 per cent of its resources for gender mainstreaming, the ministries often did not comply.

37.Ms. Neubauer commended the delegation on the adoption of the Law on General Elections, which stipulated that women should comprise at least 30 per cent of the candidates for the legislature. However, she reiterated that the Law could not be fully effective unless it contained sanctions for non-compliance. She drew the delegation’s attention to article 4, paragraph 1, of the Convention and general recommendation 25 and pointed out that temporary special measures could be used to improve gender equality in all sectors.

38.Ms. Shin asked what measures the Government was taking to ensure the implementation of anti-discriminatory laws and programmes. She was concerned that new discriminatory practices were not being addressed and was particularly disturbed that medical establishments had recently begun offering parents of newborn girls “package deals” that included birth registration, ear piercing and female genital mutilation.

39.Ms. Pimentel expressed alarm that, in some regions of Indonesia, parents were selling their daughters into prostitution. Although the Government had issued decrees on the elimination of commercial sexual exploitation of children and the elimination of trafficking in women and children, alternative sources claimed that the perpetrators were not were being arrested. She would appreciate receiving information on how the Government was enforcing national and regional implementation of those decrees.

40.Ms. Chutikul wished to know whether the definition of “trafficking” in the 2007 Law on Anti-Trafficking was in line with the definition in the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. She would also appreciate information concerning the imposition of penalties on government officials found to be involved in trafficking activities and the monitoring and evaluation of the Master Plan 2003-2007 on the Elimination of Trafficking in Women and Children.

41.Ms. Simms pointed out that there was a clear difference between trafficking and migration. She expressed alarm at the degree of trafficking in Indonesia and requested the delegation to provide data on the number of people who had been arrested and imprisoned. Since trafficking was a consequence of extreme poverty, it was important that poverty reduction strategies should focus on the poorest women in society. With respect to migration, she noted that the families of many women migrant workers remained in Indonesia and wondered whether the Government had set up any support services for such families.

42.The Chairperson, speaking as a member of the Committee, asked when the Government of Indonesia intended to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.

43.Ms. Swasono (Indonesia) said that the Law on General Elections was currently being revised and that the amended version would contain legal sanctions for non-compliance. She agreed with Ms. Simms that trafficking was a serious problem in Indonesia and clarified that both the traffickers themselves and government officials who had been implicated in trafficking could be prosecuted under the (2007) Law on Anti-Trafficking.

44.Ms. Roostiawati (Indonesia) said that, with a view to increasing the protection provided to Indonesian migrant workers, a new body had been established, the National Board for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers, located directly under the office of the President of the country. Additional safeguards for Indonesian migrant workers would be provided by the memorandum of understanding (MoU) already signed with Malaysia, and similar agreements were in progress with other countries. Negotiations with Jordan were completed, and the MoU would be signed in the near future in Jakarta. In the case of Kuwait, too, the discussions among senior officials had been concluded, and it was hoped that the MoU could be signed shortly after the one with Jordan.

45.It was hoped that before the end of the current year, with support from UNIFEM, Indonesia would host a meeting of all sending countries, to consider the possibility of establishing a secretariat to look after migrant workers. Thus while there were still problems relating to migrant workers, Indonesia was making efforts to give them better protection.

46.Ms. Swasono (Indonesia) said that, in cooperation with the Association of Public Officials, the Ministry for Women’s Empowerment was now preparing a target of 30 per cent women’s participation in the executive and judiciary branches, matching that in the legislative branch. Monitoring and evaluation of the progress towards the target would be undertaken together with bodies such as the Ministry of Health, or the Ministry of Home Affairs, as well as non-governmental organizations. It was important to work in synergy with non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Clearly, Government and NGOs would have differing targets and areas of concern, but together they could overcome their shared problems.

47.That had also been the approach taken to the trafficking problem. The new law on trafficking had been born of much discussion not only among various sectors of Government, but also with the police, NGOs and women’s organizations. The root cause of trafficking was poverty, and an important tool for tackling both cause and effect was the new National Programme on Community Empowerment. The programme included women’s empowerment, and by combating poverty, it would also protect women from prostitution and trafficking.

48.Also in preparation, and ready to go to the Parliament, was a law on pornography. Its intent was to stipulate how the Indonesian people should be protected from the harmful effects of pornography, how the production, distribution and consumption of pornography should be regulated, and what kind of hard-core pornographic materials should be banned entirely. In preparing the law on pornography, the intention had not been to be discriminatory against women, but pornography should be regulated very strictly, because the victims were mostly women and children. When the victims were children, the penalties imposed on perpetrators were a third higher than the standard scale.

49.Ms. Mulia (Indonesia) suggested that in the context of Indonesia, introducing democracy was like opening a window: it let in fresh air, but it might also let in troublesome insects. Thus the fundamentalism that could be observed in Indonesia had to be seen as the downside of the country’s attempt to introduce greater democratic freedoms. It was true that there were some fundamentalist local laws that seemed to discriminate against women, such as those that prohibited them from working at night, or required them to wear Muslim clothing, but the Government had made a considerable effort to review such laws, in an attempt to reduce the infringement of women’s rights. It was hoped that in due time they would be eliminated, but in the meantime Indonesia’s desire to create a democratic society and to protect the rights of women would continue to guide all of its endeavours.

50.Mr. Soejarwo (Indonesia) said that the main difficulty in implementing gender mainstreaming in education was that some policymakers were not aware of its importance. The Government sought to provide guidance and training for such officers, and then to take the next step by giving more scholarships to girls than to boys, especially poor girls and those from the rural areas, or from remote islands, where they would otherwise have no access to education.

Articles 7 to 9

51.Ms. Neubauer said that the country report and the responses to the list of issues and questions (document CEDAW/C/IDN/Q/5/Add.1) made it very clear that the participation of Indonesian women in public and political life, and the proportion of women representing the Indonesian Government as senior diplomats and ambassadors, remained very low. She asked what activities in the areas of capacity-building and training of women were being undertaken by the Ministry for Women’s Empowerment and other relevant organizations. She really wished to know how the Government specifically intended fully to implement articles 7 and 8 of the Convention, as well as general recommendations 23 and 25.

52.According to the responses to the list of issues and questions, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had formulated a policy benefit for married couples who were both in the diplomatic service, under which they would be posted to countries near to each other. She sought clarification of the intent of that measure, describing it as probably not very effective in encouraging more women to join the diplomatic service.

53.Ms. Maiolo noted that the law on quotas that the country had promulgated had been badly applied. It needed to be modified, and penalties introduced for non-compliance with it. Were such sanctions envisaged? She saw a further problem relating to the political parties. There was a need to struggle with the parties in order clearly to understand their by-laws, their rules, and the ratio between women and men within them.

54.A third problem was that of stereotypes in politics. She wished to know if the Government could tackle the financial problem, namely that women, shackled by stereotypes, generally did not have enough money to carry out an electoral campaign. Finally she suggested that a wide-ranging media campaign should be undertaken, and that there should be many more women working in the media. In conclusion, and as an overall comment, quotas alone were not sufficient.

55.Ms. Begum, noting that Indonesia in 2006 had amended the Law on Nationality, wondered whether the amendment was in full compliance with article 9 of the Convention. She also wished to know whether an Indonesian woman could transmit her nationality to a foreign husband. The reporting State should indicate whether the amended law had been examined from the point of view of migrant women workers. She had been informed that some Indonesian migrant workers considered the new nationality law to be potentially damaging to them, in that it stipulated that if a woman chose her husband’s nationality, after three years she would automatically lose her Indonesian nationality (even if she stayed in Indonesia). If, then, she lived in her husband’s country, and ran into problems of domestic violence, her own country by then would have abandoned her and become a foreign land. The same situation would apply to women who were trafficked as mail-order brides, or in other similar guises.

56.Another important issue was that in many cases the passports of women migrant workers, particularly domestics, were held by their employer, and the workers were not able to leave the employer’s house, thus impeding their access to the consulate or embassy.

57.Ms. Swasono (Indonesia) said that Law No. 12 of 2003 on General Elections now stated specifically that both men and women had the right to vote, which was an enhancement because in the former version, women had not been specifically mentioned. The number of women in senior positions was certainly too low. Efforts were in hand within the executive branch to improve the situation. In particular, the Ministry for Women’s Empowerment had a roadshow, which in the past several months it had taken to other sectors and departments to make them aware that the level of female recruitment was too low.

58.Ms. Asmady (Indonesia) said that the number of female ambassadors had increased tremendously in the course of the past four years, currently numbering about 10. Every group of new ambassadors appointed now included two or three women. In the past, very few women had chosen diplomatic careers, but with the changes in the regulations, it was to be hoped that the next five years would see the appointment of many female ambassadors. In the past, when a woman diplomat married a male diplomat she had had to resign or take leave from government work during the husband’s posting. Under the new policy, she had the option of being posted to a neighbouring country or of staying with her husband at his posting. Most female diplomats who had children chose the second option.

59.Mr. Mulyana (Indonesia) said that an Indonesian woman who married a foreigner could choose to take her husband’s nationality or maintain her own as an Indonesian. She had three years in which to make the decision, whereas under the former legislation, she would automatically have taken the nationality of her husband. The children of the marriage, too, had both nationalities till the age of 18, and then were able to choose.

The meeting rose at 1 p.m.