Indonesian elections wouldn’t be complete without dangdut singers. Young women, usually attired in skimpy clothes, are a must at campaign rallies, warming up supporters with hip-shaking music and gyrating movements before party bigwigs deliver rousing political speeches.
Yet, as Indonesians prepare vote in national legislature elections Wednesday, the participation of dangdut singers has gone beyond a mere stage act.
To increase gender equality in politics, Indonesia has imposed a strict mandatory quota on women standing in this year’s elections. Each political party has to field at least 30% female parliamentary candidates in to participate in an electoral district, or else it will be disqualified.
It is essentially a good rule. But much to the derision of many voters and the consternation of women activists, political parties choose to pick women little experience in politics or public service: wives, daughters or female relatives of established politicians, and famous celebrities — dangdut
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