The increased number of female members of parliament: Identifying its origins and obstacles in Indonesia, the Phillippine and Timor-Leste
It is generally recognized that women worldwide make substantial contributions towards politics, society
and the economy in their country. In newly democratic countries in Southeast Asia the role of women
in politics in particular has been extraordinary. There are many aspects to the political role that women
play including political representation and in relation to this aspect alone, each countries has its own
background and circumstances that provide the context for women to become involved.
This paper is divided into three parts. The first part outlines findings from existing research on the issue of
women’s political participation, ranging from a macro to a micro explanation of the factors that affect the
level of participation. The second part specifically deals with the case of Indonesia, drawing on various,
yet limited, research on the issues faced by women with regards to their engagement in formal political
processes through political parties and general elections. In addition, the second part also reviews some
findings from the neighboring countries of the Philippines and Timor-Leste, which will allow some
comparisons to be made. It has to be noted that the proposed research will pay particular attention to
Indonesia, using the situations in Timor-Leste and the Philippines for comparison. The third part draws
some conclusions for future research.