Global Resources

Building safe spaces to support young women’s participation in local governance in Indonesia

Author: F. Feruglio, N. Lestari, E. Bell, K. Brock
Publisher: Institute of Development Studies UK
Publication Date: Jan 2017

Barriers to young (especially unmarried) women’s participation in public spaces include the prevailing view that doing so violates social norms, young women’s often low level of education, and family expectations. Many young women have internalised their marginalisation and lack the confidence to participate in community forums.

This practitioner research, carried out by women’s empowerment organisation FAMM Indonesia, brings the voices of young women into the conversation about the allocation of local government resources and social accountability. The paper describes participatory action research carried out in partnership with eight grassroots Indonesian women’s NGOs. Preliminary focus group discussions laid the foundation for a series of movement-building initiative workshops to strengthen rural young women’s leadership capacity, encourage critical awareness and develop their roles as community organisers.

The paper ends with a reflective conversation between Niken Lestari of FAMM and Francesca Feruglio of MAVC. They discuss the kind of capacity-building needed to enable young women to overcome barriers to their engagement in local governance spaces, and thus fulfil their own declared potential to contribute much more to the development of their communities.
Key themes in this paper:
  • young women’s participation in local government forums
  • power analysis and power mapping
  • intersectionality – how social identities overlap with related power systems
  • feminist popular education
  • movement-building and collaboration