Indonesia’s first and only female constitutional justice Maria Farida Indrati will soon be stepping down from her position and it could spell tougher times for women’s rights in the country, activists say.
With religious conservatism on the rise, Indonesia is seeing more cases of abuse and discrimination towards women. Many of these cases have been taken to court – an institution already in dire need of female representatives.
While the Constitutional Court does not handle criminal cases, women’s rights activist Indri Suparno having a woman in the courtroom is a boost in the efforts to uphold women’s rights and progress in the country.
“It’s not always the case where the existence of a female justice means the law will take the side of women,” said Indri Suparno, who is a commissioner at the National Commission on Violence Against Women, as quoted by Bloomberg. “But the absence will give more difficulties to women to become more progressive.”
Indrati, whose term ends next year, will be replaced by a candidate chosen by President Joko Widodo. Indrati, who was chosen by former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said there are several qualified women the President can choose from. “It is important that women take this role and be unafraid,” she said.
Indrati, who had previously spent decades as a law lecturer at the University of Indonesia and assisting lawmakers in drafting legislation, has said that she plans to return to teaching full time when her term finishes.