Sexual harassment measures implemented in Indonesia polytechnics with ILO support
Four vocational polytechnics in Indonesia are the first in the country to put in place measures to prevent and address sexual harassment and violence, following support from the International Labour Organization (ILO).
It follows a new government requirement to put in place formal procedures to protect young women and men at learning institutions. The government hopes the measures will help change attitudes on sexual harassment among the country’s future workforce.
“Women’s rights are human rights, and in our school, both men and women, teachers and students are working together to make sure all can study and eventually work in dignity,” said Marike Alelo, Director of the Manado State Polytechnic, in North Sulawesi. “I hope that the procedures we have developed in consultation with our staff and students will help other schools in complying with the Ministerial Regulation.”
Polytechnics in Surabaya, Semarang and Batam also benefitted from ILO support.
Today (24 Jan 2023), at a ceremony in Jakarta, the government and ILO launched the Training Manual on Mainstreaming, and Prevention and Handling Sexual Harassment in Vocational Education and Training Institutions for use by polytechnics that were not part of the pilot initiative.
Many young women choose to avoid programmes in male-dominated sectors such as the maritime industry. Fears of sexual discrimination, harassment and violence in study and workplaces, along with work schedules that are often not friendly to family life, are contributing factors to these decisions.
“The Indonesian government has recognized that tackling sexual harassment and violence in higher education will be instrumental to changing mindsets more broadly,” said Beny Bandanadjaja, Director of Vocational Polytechnics at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, which last year issued Regulation 30/2021 on the Prevention and Handling of Violence and Sexual Harassment in Higher Education. “These measures will help women, as well as men, at the institutions directly – and will also have a longer-term impact in the workplace, once our students graduate.”
Over 70 per cent of respondents in a recent ILO survey in Indonesia had experienced violence and harassment in the workplace. According to the National Women’s Commission, between 2015 and 2021 more than a quarter of reported cases of sexual harassment and violence at the workplace occurred in higher education institutions.
ILO support is provided under the Skills for Prosperity programme, funded by the UK government, which aims to increase the national capacity to achieve sustained and inclusive growth through the enhancement of skills development.
“To unleash the potential of both women and men in Indonesia, we all need to learn how to create safe, harassment-free workplaces with mutual respects. Leaning technical skills is absolutely critical but that alone is not enough,” said Michiko Miyamoto, ILO’s Country Director in Indonesia.
The measures include legal procedures and support for victims and witnesses. They have been developed by task forces in each polytechnic, in collaboration with the provincial government, the local police and non-governmental organizations.
“This project is a great example of how gender issues are put at the heart of an increasing number of UN development projects in Indonesia, focusing on the needs, well-being and empowerment of women,” said Valerie Julliand, UN Resident Representative in Indonesia. “We need more projects like this in order to close the enormous global gender gap and meet the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality and the empowerment of women.”