The humanitarian crisis in Timor Leste - at that time East Timor - after the referendum on August 30, 1999, made thousands of residents exodus to East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). Data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shows that there are around 250 thousand East Timorese who have left to avoid armed political battlefields. In the poll, around 94,388 people or 21.5 percent of East Timorese chose to remain part of Indonesia. Meanwhile 344,580 people or 78.5 percent want to be independent from Indonesia.
The news about this wave of refugees then landed in the TEMPO newsroom on Jalan Proklamasi, Jakarta. Purwani Dyah Prabandari — currently managing editor of TEMPO English — is one of the journalists who attended editorial meetings related to sending journalists to conflict areas more than 3 thousand kilometers from the capital city Jakarta. At that time, he was summoned along with 4 male and 1 female journalists from TEMPO Interaktif. However, only Dyah volunteered to fly to Dili.
“I'm the only one who raises my hand. Maybe the men want it, but they are reluctant, ”said Dyah to Jaring.id on Friday, March 6, 2020.
At first, Dyah was pessimistic about being chosen as TEMPO's eyes and ears in Timor Leste. Moreover, at that time, the composition between male and female workers in the media, who this year is 49 years old, is considered unbalanced. Even if he left, he was sure that there would be more or less different treatment between him and the men when covering the conflict.
“There are many kinds of messages from superiors. Some say that later they will get ready to remove the hijab if there is a problem, because they imagine that in Timor Leste many are Catholics, ”said Dyah.
Dyah was in Timor Leste for three days. From there he was able to prove that his ability to work was no different from that of male journalists. As long as women want to talk, according to him, there will be equal opportunities that can be taken. But the problem is that working women often limit themselves. They are often reluctant to speak up, so they reject strategic positions or positions because of their domestic affairs as housewives. Whereas TEMPO — the media in which he works — always considers women and men as being equally low.
"They think they don't have enough time to take care of their family," said Dyah.
The same thing was revealed by Evi Mariani, managing editor of the daily English newspaper, The Jakarta Post. According to him, the main problem of the lack of presence of women at the top of mass media leadership has been due to stereotypes that were born from the womb of a patriarchal culture. Starting from the oblique assumption that women are unable to carry out their duties, cannot manage time between domestic affairs and work, to the general opinion that women cannot come home at night.
“When the world of work doesn't understand that, women can suffer mental attacks. Finally they couldn't make a sound. Because of this burden, women do not develop, "said Evi after a limited discussion entitled"Media for Women 2020"Which was held by the Nusantara Media Development Association (PPMN) and Free Press Unlimited (FPU), Friday, March 6, 2020.
Apart from limited discussions, PPMN will also hold a general campaign for gender justice in the mass media while watching a film by Luviana, More Than Work on Wednesday, March 11, 2020. The general discussion which was held in the Multimedia Theater room, Unika Atmajaya, Jakarta was also attended by Desi Anwar, Board of News Director CNN Indonesia TV and Ninuk Pambudy, Chief Editor of the KOMPAS Daily.
"We want the role and leadership of women in the media to be more widely opened in order to strengthen the role of the media in promoting gender justice," said Eni Mulia, PPMN Executive Director to Jaring.id.
This activity is part of a series of global campaigns entitled #EachforEqual on International Women's Day (International Women's Day) which falls on this day, Sunday, March 8, 2020. “An equal world is a world that makes it possible to do anything. Equality is not only an issue for women, but also an economic issue. Gender equality is very important for economic and community development. A world that is gender equal can be healthier, richer and more harmonious, ”he was quoted from the website internationalwomensday.com.
In Indonesia, according to the Chairperson of the Gender Division of the Indonesian Independent Journalists Alliance (AJI), Endah Lismartini, women's representation in the mass media is still low. The results of research conducted by the Tempo Institute and the Tempo Data and Analysis Center (PDAT) show that of the 22,900 sources quoted by the media, only 11 percent or 2,525 of them were women. The research is based on observations of news stories outside the entertainment section in seven print media and three online media from 6 August to 6 September 2018. Meanwhile, UNESCO research in the same year revealed that of all issues discussed by the mass media, only 10 percent of the published women's issues. Meanwhile, the composition of female sources is not more than 20 percent.
"In general, the ratio of the number of male and female journalists based on AJI membership is quite unequal. In 2018 alone, out of 1846 members, only 344 were women, "said Endah.
The managing editor of The Jakarta Post (TJP), Evi Mariani, stated that the lack of representation of women in the mass media is greatly influenced by the unequal proportion between the number of male and female workers. Even though this balance is very necessary so that masculinity no longer dominates the newsroom. According to him, women should be given more space to be able to contribute to the economy as well as build diversity, both in content and perspective.
"This is not so that women dominate. Currently, men dominate, so no balance. The impact on perspectives in the editorial office is not diverse, "he said.
The Jakarta Post itself employs 93 people consisting of 49 men and 44 women. Even though the composition is not yet equal, according to Evi, it has a positive impact on cultural changes in the TJP newsroom. Currently, many women have taken on the role of decision makers, including in positions managing editor where there are 4 girls and 1 boy. Temporary position senior editor manned by 4 men and 1 woman, while female editors reach 14 people compared to 12 men.
"All must be confirmed newsroom don't be outdated. Newsroom masculine must be abandoned, "said Evi seriously.
TEMPO English managing editor, Purwani Dyah Prabandari, agreed with this. According to him, the opportunity for women to control the newsroom is currently very open.
"Women have the potential," said Dyah.
It's just that, he said, a struggle to achieve diversity of content is not an easy job. TEMPO itself is currently still trying to prioritize female sources in every issue discussed. However, this is hampered by women's limited expertise in the public sphere. Even if there is, they sometimes do not have the confidence to be a source. As a result, men often appear in public spaces.
"(But) at least we have an awareness that leads to the involvement of women as sources," he said.
Dyah added that the rubric that most consistently represented women's voices at TEMPO was the Science rubric. "In Sains women have an increased priority," said Dyah.
In the last two months, he gave an example, many women were willing to talk when interviewed by the journalists for this column, both TEMPO online, TEMPO newspaper and MBM TEMPO. (Abdus Somad).