Welcome to Part 2 of our November 2023 Inspirational Interview with Tunggal Pawestri, a women’s rights activist from Indonesia and current Executive Director of the Humanist and Social Innovation Foundation (YHIS), a regional organisation based in Jakarta with a focus on Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Civic Rights in the Digital Age, and Climate Justice in the Southeast Asia region. Tunggal has served as a Steering Committee Member of VOICE since 2021 and holds the position of Independent Global Women’s Safety Expert Advisor for META, further highlighting her dedication to promoting women’s safety and empowerment in the digital space on a global scale.
In this part of the interview, Tunggal talks about her organisation’s plans for the future and the importance of involving various stakeholders in efforts to end violence against women.
Part 1 of Tunggal’s interview was published on 5 November, 2023.
All photos are courtesy of YHIS.
6. New research has found that climate change can cause a major rise in domestic violence against women – a 1 Celsius increase in average annual temperature was connected to an increase of more than 6.3% in incidents of physical and sexual domestic violence across India, Pakistan, and Nepal. Given that Yayasan Humanis works on both gender equality and climate justice, what advice would you give to activists who are looking to actively address this link between climate change and VAW?
I am uncertain about my ability to offer advice because based on my experience, country-specific context is important and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to address these issues. Nevertheless, I adhere to some core principles in this line of work, firstly, collaboration with women’s rights organisations and secondly, working with an intersectionality lens. It helps a lot to ensure that we are grounded in our work. We also will have a better understanding of the challenges faced by each community group. Again, for me, working with data is crucial, so it is also essential to conduct research to further understand the link between Climate Justice and VAW. Recognising that affected communities possess invaluable insights into building resilience, it is vital to seek solutions together in a cooperative manner.
7. One of the keys to eradicating VAW is to get men and boys on board efforts to do so. Given your experience with fighting to stop VAW in Indonesia which is a conservative country, what do you think are the most effective ways of galvanising men and boys in very conservative cultures to help to end violence against women?
Based on my experience, I have found some effective ways to get more men and boys to work together to end VAW:
- Firstly, adopting gender transformative approaches methodology, so instead of burdening women with the responsibility for equality, engage men and women together as agents of change.
- Secondly, always engage role model men–which probably includes progressive male religious leaders–in any public campaign and activities related to stopping VAW.
- Thirdly, establishing safe spaces for open and non-judgmental dialogues about gender roles, violence, and equality is vital. Encouraging active participation from men and boys in these discussions allows them to reflect on their own attitudes and behaviours.
- Lastly, promoting peer-to-peer education among men and boys further reinforces the message of respect and equality.
8. Tell us about Yayasan Humanis’s plans for the future. What campaigns, programmes, or projects do you have coming up in the next 5 years?
Yayasan Humanis is committed to furthering our feminist leadership program, WE LEAD, in Indonesia, collaborating closely with our partners. This initiative aims to challenge societal norms and practices that hinder the progress of women and girls. Additionally, to address sexism in the public sphere, we will continue to enhance and expand our womenunlimited.id initiative, growing our database of female experts. In Timor Leste, we remain dedicated to our Civil Society and Governance project, providing support to victims and survivors of gender-based violence. Furthermore, we are launching a new women’s safety and security program in the digital sphere this year. This program is designed to mitigate risks for women and girls working on challenging issues, including violence against women (VAW).
9. How can The Pixel Project’s supporters engage with and support the efforts of Yayasan Humanis to stop violence against women?
I trust that The Pixel Project’s supporters are well-equipped to take action based on the country’s context and capabilities. Nevertheless, I think that the combination of individual efforts and collective initiatives is a powerful way to engage and support the fight against VAW. On an individual level, we can utilise our social media platforms to raise awareness, speak out, and conduct public campaigns to combat VAW. It is also essential to create a safe and supportive environment for survivors.
Additionally, supporting women’s organisations through volunteering or offering expertise can make a significant difference. And it is also crucial to engage in collective efforts like lobbying and advocating for policy change. Furthermore, we can challenge stereotypes that perpetuate VAW in the media and daily interactions. Together, these actions can bring about positive change in the battle against violence against women.
10. In your considered opinion, how can we end violence against women for good?
Putting an end to VAW is a complex and multifaceted challenge that needs a comprehensive and long-term approach. There are no quick fixes, and we need to involve different stakeholders to overcome this issue. In my view, the following critical strategies can effectively combat and ultimately eliminate VAW:
- Understanding the root causes and addressing gender and structural inequality.
- Conducting research to gain deeper insights into the nature of VAW and to get more evidence to strengthen VAW prevention. Utilising Feminist Participatory Action Research can lead to more targeted interventions.
- Promoting and raising public awareness about gender equality and the importance of combating VAW.
- Engaging more men and boys to actively challenge harmful attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate VAW, encouraging positive masculinity.
- Establishing and enforcing laws and policies that safeguard the rights of women and girls and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.