INTEGRATING GENDER DIMENSION IN LOCAL GOVERNANCE: CHALLENGES FOR EMPOWERING WOMEN IN LAND REHABILITATION*)

Ismi Dwi Astuti Nurhaeni

Public Administration Study Program
Faculty of Social and Political Science   Sebelas Maret University
Jl. Ir. Sutami 36 A Kentingan Solo
HP: 08122623959, e-mail: ismi_uns@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT

Environmental degradation in many areas has resulted in natural disasters which have serious impact on human life. The disasters are caused by human activities which are not environmentally friendly. Therefore, active participation of all people, both men and women, is badly needed. The importance of women participation in land rehabilitation has been regulated in some regulations, both in national and international level. This article discusses how to increase women participation in land rehabilitation through gender integration in local governance and the actual challenges to integrate gender dimension.

The idea to integrate gender dimension in local governance as an effort to improve women participation in land rehabilitation is based on research results in the scheme of Postgraduate Grant from the Directorate of Higher Education which has been undertaken by the author and her team for a year in the slope of Mount Lawu, particularly in the Karanganyar Regency. Data were collected using several methods including site observation, interview, focus group discussion and document study by involving key informants who were purposively selected. Analysis method employed in the research was Harvard model of gender analysis.

Results indicate that women participation in land rehabilitation is limited because of the domestication of women in land rehabilitation, stereotype of physical barrier for women in land rehabilitation, as well as the public policy on land management which is not yet gender responsive. Because of this women do not have bargaining power in land management. Therefore, it is significant to strengthen women participation in land management through gender integration in local governance, either through gender mainstreaming or affirmative action. Gender mainstreaming in land management is done by integrating gender equity in planning, operating, monitoring, and evaluating rehabilitation programs and activities in the local context; while affirmative action is done by constructing regulation and credible commitment which determines the minimal standard of women representation as the board of Lembaga Masyarakat Desa Hutan (LMDH) (the association of people living in the surrounding area of the forest). Women representation in organization is essential because LMDH is local organization which has strategic role in land management, both economically and ecologically.

Besides strengthening women participation through gender mainstreaming and affirmative action, there is a need to improve women capacity, both individually and collectively. Individual capacity improvement consists of several aspects including material aspect, human resources, social and political aspects. Collective capacity improvement is done by developing voice mechanism, structuring the organization and representation. The challenges to strengthen women participation in land rehabilitation include strengthening the capacity of local governance in order to be gender responsive; improving women capacity through competence development in land management, and opening mechanism for the members of local organization to put forward their aspiration through voices mechanism.

Keywords: domestication of women, gender integration, land rehabilitation, local governance, voices mechanism, women empowerment.

*) This paper has been presented in IAPA –
ASPA Indonesia International Seminar and Congress 2012, Brawijaya University, June, 12th-14th, 2012