Indonesia Global Compact Network (IGCN) has organized a Woman Business Forum to promote women empowerment and gender equality to the Indonesian businesses. The event was held in Plaza Simas Ballroom 9th Floor, Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday, 18 October 2017.
The opening was remarked by key messages from Dr. (HC) Martha Tilaar, the Founder of Martha Tilaar Group and Co-founder of IGCN. She stated that, to make women successful, women needed to connect and cooperate with others, both women and men. Also, a successful woman in business must become a role model for other women.
Women potentials, according to Meng Liu, Head of UN Global Compact Asia and Oceania Networks, were also significant to the global economy. Woman participation, when equal to men, could stimulate additional annual GDP up to US$28 trillion. Through equality and cooperation, business leaders might create larger economic opportunities.
Nevertheless, gender equality in business must start from elimination of gender stereotyping and putting equality a priority in mind. A lot of people also know already about the needs for gender equality but they do not really put their heart into it. As part of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gender equality is one of common goals that must be recognized. Through SDGs, people are expected to eliminate gender stereotyping and support women potentials in businesses in order to make contributions to the economy.
On the other hand, women must be able to change their mindset as well. A lot of cases showing that women did not want to grab opportunities in workplaces due to a number of reasons; afraid to take more responsibilities, feel inferior, doubt own capabilities, and do not want to take authority and overpower the husbands. Dini Widiastuti, the Executive Director of Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment explained “Gender equality is a social issue in our country. Only 23% of our society sees it as a priority. We are behind and we need to change the mindset”.
Furthermore, making gender equality into a priority does not change the way women doing business. Their roles could be pivotal for business, but they have to be supported by their male counterparts. “It is not easy to understand women, but they have important roles in businesses. This must be seen as a challenge by their male co-workers, and they have to find a solution together. Mutual understanding is the key for women to thrive,” said Dr. Jacky Mussry, Executive VP, International Council for Small Business Indonesia (ICSB) & Deputy CEO, MarkPlus, Inc.
Nowadays, workingwomen are increasing in numbers and creating healthy competition against men and between themselves. Women have to able to take leading roles in corporations, while industry leaders and also the government have to make a bold move to support women by creating more workplace-job opportunities for them to utilizing their knowledge and skills.
Previously, offices and factories are used to be a male-dominated world. However, it has been changed a lot today. Women have made great leaps in their career ladders, and it is not rare to see brave women became leaders in their organizations. Whether as CEOs or VPs, they set a bright example for those around them. One of the speakers, Catharina Widjaja, the Director of PT Gadjah Tunggal Tbk highlighted on how women must make themselves equal as men. “We see ourselves not different from men. We must see ourselves as equal,” she said.
However, when equality already becomes priority, it is also important for industry leaders to support women in businesses, especially the working moms. Mr. Nanang Chalid, explained that “How do we facilitate employee in working? We have to allow them to bring their child to the company, so they can work and take care of their younglings at the same time.”
Women Business Forum is part of discussion series under the main theme of “Making Global Goals Local Business”. The forum had two sessions, where the first session highlighted the trend and significant roles of women in businesses that could spur economic growth. Moderated by Juniati Gunawan, PhD, the Director of Trisakti Sustainability Centre, the speakers in session one are Mrs. Lily Puspasari, Programme Specialist, UN Women Indonesia; Mrs. Dini Widiastuti, Executive Director, Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE); Dr. Jacky Mussry, Executive VP, International Council for Small Business Indonesia (ICSB) & Deputy CEO, MarkPlus, Inc; Ir. Victoria br. Simanungkalit, MM, Asisten Deputi Industri dan Jasa, Ministry of Coorporative and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Mr. Roy Mandey, Chairman, Indonesian Retail Merchants Association (APRINDO).
The second session discussed some industry leaders’ practices in gender equality in businesses. Dr. Semerdanta Pusaka, Member of VP SME & Women Empowerment of IGCN, moderated discussion with the speakers. They were Mrs. Catharina Widjaja, Director, PT Gajah Tunggal, Tbk; Mr. Nanang Chalid, Human Resources Director and Country Head for Employeer Brand, PT Unilever Indonesia, Tbk; Ms. Amalia Yunita, Founder, PT Lintas Jeram Nusantara (Arus Liar), Mrs. Annette Anhar, Owner, Tugu Group.
To closing the Forum, IGCN organized a pledge signing of 25+ companies that would be committed to open more opportunities for women businesses in their supply chains. Some of them were PT Martina Berto Tbk, PT Indah Kiat, PT Gajah Tunggal Tbk, PT Supra Boga Lestari, etc.