Indonesian women hold strategic position on environment

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Indonesian women hold strategic position on environment issues, making them the government's strategic partner in socializing good environmental management, a deputy minister told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Henry Bastaman, Deputy Environment Minister for Environment Communication and Public Empowering, said that the strategic position is based on two facts.

"First, on quantity base, Indonesia has more women population than men. Secondly, we have to strongly consider their position as they are prone to the threat of environmental damage," he said.

Hendry took an example that women's position, particularly in poor rural areas, are very risky to environmental damage as they have to search for drinking water for their family in water resources that are far from their houses.

"Once environment damaged, causing water scarcity, they have to search drinking water in places that are farther than before," he said.

Meanwhile, he said, in big cities, many women are hit by industrial and transportation pollution as they are not well protected.

"This cause pollution-related diseases that attack women," he said.

The condition, he said, makes women in the frontline in managing environment.

"Considering the facts, we position women empowerment in managing environment. We partner with them through women organizations or individually," said Henry.

The government, he said, has been socializing the fact so that every party, not only women ones, get more aware on the pollution threat potential.

He added that the government takes steps in addressing the issue.

"First, we give them a better understanding on very serious threat if we don't pay attention on women's position on the environmental management," he said.

Secondly, Henry added, the government will review environmental policies that have potential of reducing equality of men and women on access so that men do not always dominate everything.

"For example, we have to give more opportunities to women in sounding their opinion on environmental effect analysis," he said.

He also said that there is also demand from the Parliament Women Caucus to be provided on more balanced data between men and women.

"Usually, we provide data on general about men and women. But, if we see further, apparently there are more problems that women have," he said.

Henry admitted that government's policies toward women are not perfect.

"We have to see more precisely on what policies that are sensitive to women, such as working safety and protection. We have to be more detail," he said, adding that the government is processing regulations to make them better.

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