With the increasing threats of climate change, corporate investment and industrial expansion in the area, women are faced with new challenges in the form of migration and trafficking. The impacts of climate change are charted as follows: decreasing crop yields; threats to food security; increased water stress and drought; increasing fluvial flooding and rainfall; frequent fluvial flooding; an increasing number of tropical cyclones (in certain areas); and rise of sea level affecting livelihood in coastal regions.
Importantly, the study brings into focus the effects of these dynamics specifically on women, highlighting the low policy-level profile given to women as a population group that is distinctively affected by climate change and suggesting strategies for making both climate change and the effect of climate change on the SRHR of women, visible in the Indonesia response. Human-made and natural disasters have had detrimental impact of women’s SRHR. This study concludes that women in Central Java are not only victims of climate-change and loss of biodiversity but also defenders and agents of conservation, specifically in terms of food security and access to water.
This study looks at the interlinkages between climate change and SRHR (Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights) by putting specific case study on the role of women’s agency on the preserving the biodiversity in Central Java. A study conducted by BPNP (the Indonesian Disaster Management Agency) notes that Indonesia is sometimes referred to as “Disaster Laboratory” due to the fact that many types of disaster can occur across archipelago, including earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides, floods and volcanic eruptions. Recent years has showed many cases that loss of biodiversity and squandering of ecology has caused the disaster. Approach to highlight human-driven natural disaster is not yet popular compared to nature-driven. This paper would like to highlight that human-triggered natural disasters are massive and thus challenging human’s contribution to save biodiversity on Planet Earth.
The selection of Central Java province was due to several considerations. Firstly, Central Java is a province prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, landslides, droughts and deteriorating coastlines. It is the most mountainous region in Java with lush soil and abundant rivers (Bemmelen, 1949). Secondly, It is the most populous area with 32.38 million people (BPS Jawa Tengah, 2014). Thirdly, Central Java has experienced rapid urbanisation since the 1980s with the detrimental effects of high social unrest, increasing religious conservatism and lower education for girls (Heijmans, 2012). The expected impact on the studyis to provide ground knowledge on linkages between climate change and SRHR in Central Java province, and to exercise policy change at the provincial level through legislative power and the appropriate offices of regional government. This will address the policy of the Disaster Management Agency, and bylaws at the provincial level.
Despite the Indonesian government efforts to increase the number of skilled birth attendants and promote family planning, about 10,000 women die of childbirth related causes every year in Indonesia (World Bank Report, February 2010). The Indonesian Maternal Health Assessment puts Maternal Mortality rate at 228 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to UN WHO, which refers to India 450 and Malaysia 62, and Netherlands 6 mothers. Women’s economic status, level of education and age of first marriage affect maternal health and birth outcome. According to Kartika Vera Giantari (Central Java Gender Support-Service) in interview in September 2014, “Pregnant mothers are often too late in identifying danger signals during pregnancy and in making decisions, because women often have to wait for their husbands or parents to make decisions”. She added that scarcity and access of water also put pregnant women in great danger. In this case, it is necessary to link climate change and SRHR so as to reduce MMR. Interlinkage of scarcity of water is closely connected to global warming which thus changing global climate. Meanwhile water is major needs in fulfilling women’s reproductive health when they have menstruation or giving birth. Thus climate change has accelerated the brunt and burden of women’s SRHR. Jurnal Perempuan 88 has concluded that the maincause of child-marriage is due to loss of living space, that is loss of land and loss of natural resource that forced them to be married off by their parents and trafficked.
Different Perspectives toward Natural Resources threaten Ecology, Biodiversity & Food Security
A government study in 2007 concluded that a delay in the onset of the rainy season beyond 20 days during the El Niño years had disrupted production significantly. A one-month delay translated to an estimated 11 per cent decline in the yield of wet season rice in Java and Bali (an area that, together with Central and West Java, provides approximately 55 per cent of the national rice yield). The same study also noted that in average temperatures of 30°C during the dry season, rice yields decreased by 10 per cent. This is sobering for Indonesia, where the temperature is predicted to rise 1–2.5°C by 2050 and 1– 3.5°C by 2100. The 2007 government study further confirmed that delays in rainfall onset meant that rice would be planted later and thus the “hungry season” or paceklik at the end of the dry season would also be lengthened. The study was unequivocal that month-long delays in the monsoon onset will be more frequent by 2050 (Naylor et al, 2007).
Study and advocacy are exposed to the potential risks of conflicts of interest in the management of natural resources (Benson et al, 2007). Local governments, communities, and companies have different perspectives in viewing natural resources. Women and girls are most prone to become victims in these conflicts. Open-information sharing is one of the risks of this study. From July 2014 to the present there has been an ongoing dispute between PT Semen Indonesia and the Governor of Central Java Ganjar Pranowo and hundreds of women farmers of Kendeng in Watu Putih, Rembang represented by their spokesperson, Sukinah (Women Leader in Watu Putih Village) in relation to the problem of land-grab in the area and local farmers refusal of cement-mining. The arrival of mining has threatened the ecosystem, community’s livelihood and women’s access to clean water. Sukinah and a 200 strong group of local women have led the struggle against the cement mining to protect their water source. (KOMPAS, 18/12/2014).
Decreases in women’s leadership as well as rise in religious fundamentalism are further aggravated by climate change. Global warming and the melting of north-pole ice has increased the Sea Level one meter per annum since 1990 (IPCC 1990). Marfai and King (2008) used GIS inundation techniques to assess the impact of 1.2m and 1.8m sea level rise (SLR) changes for the Semarang coastal area, which is located on the northern part of Central Java Province. Semarang has a total area of about 373km2 and a population of approximately 1.5 million, which makes it the fifth largest city in Indonesia. It is one of the most important harbors of the Central Java region and the city of Semarang plans to develop to become the centre of national development. From a simulation model for sea water inundation with a scenario where sea level rises to 12cm in 2030 also followed by a storm wave 3 meters high, and increases in the La Nina phenomena as much as 10-20cm and highest tide (perigee spring-highest tide) reaching a maximum of 1-3m, it is estimated that the northern coast of Java would be significantly flooded. Therefore, the projections presented by Marfai and King (2008) have important implications for planning and adaptation in the region. Climate change has affected the people of the north coast of Central Java through high abrasion and intrusion. Rising sea levels and changes in sea water temperature, salinity, wind speed and direction, strength of upwelling, mixing layer thickness and predator response to climate change have the potential to substantially alter fish breeding habitats and food supply for fish and ultimately the abundance of fish populations in Java Sea waters with associated effects on coastal economies (Cruz et al. 2007). This material and livelihood loss has shifted the structure and culture of the coastal people in Rembang from an agriculture-fishery to industry-service based economy. This has serious impact to women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in Central Java such as the increase of maternal mortality and early-marriage. Central Java and West Java has surpassed East Java since 2015 for the previous problems in MMR and early-marriage.
The major strength of this paper lies in the vivid sense of identity which comes from the stories of following three women as guardian of biodiversity and their SRHR. Narrative works with women of Kedungombo Dam, Kendeng Mountain in Rembang, and City Solo have taken inspiration from feminist theory and the women’s movement, with community-based projects seeking to challenge ecological destruction and encourage confidence and inclusivity in their fight. Drawing together historical, theoretical, and practice-based work, including case studies from their areas are mostly done by women in Central Java. The aim of their narratives are thus to emphasize the continuing importance of ecological ties to provide a platform for the discussion of significant questions and issues facing climate change in the present and the near future, as well as women not only as victims but also survivors and guardian of Earth biodiversity.
Supi Kartosumito of the Kedung Ombo Community of Traditional Widwives (Kedung Ombo, Boyolali, Central Java)
“Kedung Ombo Community of Traditional Midwives” are women who live, struggle and serve deliveries and attending births during the case of Kedung Ombo construction until present days. Some of them were not attending schools like the leader, Supi Kartosumito. They received training of midwifery from their great-grand mothers and their respective mothers. In the 90s the construction of Kedung Ombo Dam was a source of national debate due to the social cost of this gigantesque project supported and financed by the World Bank due to New Order regime’s dishonesty regarding the land price of which the farmers lost their case in the Supreme Court. Kedung Ombo was built in 1985 by the Soeharto’s government that made a new reservoir in Central Java for power generation magnitude of 22.5 megawatts and can hold water for the needs of the surrounding 70 hectares of rice fields. Kedung Ombo Reservoir began watered on January 14, 1989—submerged 37 villages, 7 districts in three regencies, namely Sragen, Boyolali, Grobogan. A total of 5268 families have lost their land due to the construction of this dam.
“My name is Supi Kartosumito. I am 88 years old and never went to school during my girlhood. I have two sons who are now taking care of me but I still work as traditional midwife by massaging babies. During my girlhood only the daughters of the well-to-do were able to entering schools. My great-great grandmothers, from previous four generations were all midwives. I got the knowledge of midwifery directly from my mother. Wakinem, my mother often asked me to go with her in attending baby-birth and when I was 35 and she was 88, I was appointed by the community to run on my own. Before the arrival of Kedung Ombo Dam, some leaves for mothers and babies ailments were available. At present three important leaves were vanishing from the forest-community due to the construction of Kedung Ombo Dam, that is Rempenan, Ragen and Jareman leaves. These three leaves were not available now to support the drinking of newly-mother feeding milk for baby. The leaves are good source of vitamins for moms and their babies. The condition of the water after the building of the dam are always filled with calcium-oxide, the locals called it lime. It affects the drinking water of the community”.
Sukinah of Kendeng Mountains
Mountain Kendeng, Cekungan Air Tanah Watu Putih, Rembang (then abbreviated into CAT Watu Putih) is one of the ring of Karst Mountain in Northern Part of Central Java from Grobogan in Central Java to Bojonegoro in East Java. It has potentials such as springs, 52 caves, 129 underground rivers, and rich variety of vegetation and animals. Many resistance against cement-mining since 2008 including Adat People of Sukolilo Sedulur Sikep and now happened in CAT Watu Putih where Sukinah (the leader) and other hundreds mothers are blocking the cement-mining to protect their livelihood. Well-known animals resides there is bats that produce phosphate fertilizer for the local farmers. The vegetation of North Kendeng makes a perfect site for many bird species. Of the 9,200 bird species in the world, 1,500 species are found in Indonesia, and 45 species are found in Karst Kendeng. Those endangered-water-source is for the living of around 306.727 women in Rembang who are now struggling to protect the water-capture in Mountain Kendeng.
“My name is Sukinah, am 38 years old and adopting a girl from my husband’s sibling. She is now having a baby so I am now a grandmother. I lead hundreds women of Mountain Kendeng in Rembang to speak against the cement-mining because it endangered our water source in the future. We put up a blue tent to commemorate our struggle against the flood that happened for the first time in our life in Tegaldowo Village. Since the mining is there, we have flood last December 2014. We never have flood before. The condition of the water in River Semen is now reduced in its debits due to sand mining and other illegal-logging in Kendeng-Forest. The mountain and its water sources are not only ‘source’ for our SRHR but more importantly the forest and the mountain are our very ‘culture’. The culture of farming that we inherited from our farmer-parent will be vanished with the invasion of the cement. We want the government to take over our side in preserving our culture and more importantly securing our SRHR”.
Magdalena Maria Nunung Purwanti of Catholic Women of Indonesia
Catholic Women of Indonesia (WKRI-Wanita Katolik Indonesia) was founded in 1963 and has branches across Indonesia. Magdalena Maria Nunung Purwanti is the leader of Surakarta Branch. Surakarta is commonly called as Solo, a city in Central Java with 520,061 residents. The 44km2 city adjoins other satellite regencies, that is Karanganyar, Sukoharjo, Boyolali, and Klaten. As pivotal area, this city is prone to trafficking. With the recent development of around 19 budget-hotel across Solo, this city endures water-scarcity and further endangering the livelihood of SRHR of its inhabitants. WKRI via its leader has led community surround the hotel construction to sign an MOU regarding the water security in the city.
“Friends in my network usually called me Nunung. I am 58 years old, having two children, single mom, and now leading Catholic Women in Solo. I am also founding Women Caucus in 2004 that promote and protect SRHR in Solo city along with female politicians, feminists and activists. We got serious problems since our present President Joko Widodo (former city Mayor of Solo) permitted the construction of 19 hotels in Solo. We are running out of water for almost three months during the dry-season in July 2013. We never had this experience before. Hotels usually gave-away cash-money to the community living surrounding the hotels. But I led the community to stop doing that habit. We have to sit together and come to terms and agreement because it will lead to further destruction of city-ecology, which is scarcity of water. I am the only woman who was doing the negotiation. I actually disagree with the construction but the community said yes, so I have to fight for our basic rights for water. Due to my bold advocacy, we are now signing an MOU in 2013 that make the hotel guarantee on our access to water. Hotel is now supplying our water during drought season. I believe that water is key-role in our SRHR”.
Squandered Ecology: Women as Victim and Women as Agent in Saving Biodiversity
To reiterate, the risks of climate change have been identified as the rise in sea-level, abrasion and intrusion. Global warming has exacerbated the rise in sea-level in the North Coastal-Area (IPCC Report in 1990 on Sea Level Rise-SLR). SLR and CC have led to increased abrasion and intrusion on the North Coastal-Area of Java (Bikman, 2006: 67). The threat of incrementally rising sea-water has heightened the burden on women in accessing fresh water which then influences their SRHR. Mining has changed the nature of the economy, causing ecological destruction and dramatically altering the societal structure which then impacts directly into women’s SRHR. Sukinah and women of Rembang have to face this problem.
Previous risks are associated firstly, with the reduction of sea-resources such as sea-biota. This has made it difficult to determine when to fish and when not to fish since it is becoming difficult to predict the weather—in local language it is called pranoto mongso (seasonal calender). The major income for coastal people is fisheries, and this is being altered dramatically. The SLR has contributed to the destruction of sea-biota and the port where fishermen deck their boats. Women in north coastal-area of Central Java are then unable to earn a sustainable living through the fisheries and many decide to work as migrant workers (Irwanto, 2001; Raymond, 2001; Zulbahry, 2005). Indonesia provides a striking example of the feminisation of migration, as estimates suggest that up to 90% of country’s migrant workers are women (IRIN, 2010). In Indonesia, Central Java is ranked fourth nationally in sending women migrant workers abroad (Zulbahary, 2005: 59). LRC KJHAM, an NGO based in Semarang, has reported that the North-Coast of Central Java has become a target for the migrant-worker market that specifically targets women and girls. It reported that most women migrant workers are sent to Malaysia, Arab Saudi and South Korea. The North-Coast is also becoming a transit sending-area heavily burdened by trafficking cases (interview with KJHAM in December 2014).
Second, the absence of awareness and the poor capacity of local government, including women, in understanding the impact of climate change in relation to coping mechanism strategies. This further deteriorates women’s SRHR. Public education, campaigning and advocacy that link CC and SRHR are urgently needed. The number of trafficking cases in Central Java is relatively high and it is acknowledged by several researchers that there is a close relationship between trafficking practices and child prostitution. Climate change has altered the ecological structure which then alters societal structures—as indicated in the soaring number of trafficking cases. Further, there are reported to be an estimated 8,495 adult sex workers and 3,177 prostituted-girls in Central Java (Brock and Susan, 1996; Raymond: 2001; Irwanto et al., 2001).
Third, the local community is uprooted from their own local-knowledge with the arrival of modern-schooling. Local knowledge and capacities are not being used in mitigating disaster risks. There is little evidence of the mapping of disaster from a gender perspective. Fourth, coordination at all levels of governance is extremely weak in reducing risks of climate change in relation to SRHR. Fifth, there is no coping-mechanism policy paper integrating CC & SRHR from the perspective of women. Universities shall be involved in policy-decision making in mitigating climate change and disaster risks. Research on ecology, gender and sustainable development has been initiated by PPSG-UKSW.
Action urgently needed involves first, a coping mechanism policy paper in the framework of CC-SRHR at the regional, provincial, regency and village levels. Second, encouraging local-initiatives to build community-learning centres to mitigate CC-SRHR. Local Government shall take the following actions to mainstream gender into policy of CC-SRHR by (1) increasing knowledge of mainstreaming disaster in the governance policy; (2) following up on research from universities and incorporating it into the programs of governance; (3) including SRHR-CC into the framework of Community Based Disaster and Risk Management (CBDRM); (4) building commitment between regencies (Kendal, Semarang, Demak, Pati and Rembang) to share responsibilities in raising awareness on the linkage between CC and SRHR; (5) altering approaches to development by involving the voices and perspectives of women. In the future there is enormous prospect for universities to build research alliances of with other universities as well as to cooperate to reduce disaster risks. The introduction of linkage between CC and SRHR into the curriculum is also seen as an imperative innovation for the future by the Director of Women’s Studies at the PPSG-UKSW (interview, Arianti Ina Restiani Hunga, December 2014).
There exists the potential for villagers and women to identify resources of water, vegetation and livelihood that connect directly to their SRHR. Women are starting to assess how long they take to get water before, after and during drought or flood. They are planning to be trained to mitigate preparedness in coping with climate change and extreme weather. NGOs and other CSO organisations need to focus on alleviating and reducing the risk of disaster due to climate change. It is hoped that they will build networks on issues of CC-SRHR. The potential strategic focus of these stakeholders will feed into policy-making and policy execution at the governmental level.
With the increasing threat from climate change and corporate interests, women are further faced by the new challenge of migration since they cannot live on their land anymore. Despite the positive introduction of Law No. 21 of 2007 on the eradication of the crime of trafficking in persons, trafficking and prostitution remain serious threats for girls and women in Central Java, as Indonesia remains a major source country and to a much lesser extent a destination and transit country for sex trafficking and forced labour. Although the Government has recently created the first database for tracking trafficking convictions to improve the centralised collection of data on prosecutions and victim protection from local governments, exact numbers of women and children trafficked within the country and abroad are not yet available. During the FGD with the provincial government, it was found that while Indonesian National Police investigators used the 2007 anti-trafficking law to prepare cases for prosecution, some prosecutors and judges were still reluctant to use the law. Moreover, it reported that law enforcement officials complained about the difficulty of coordinating among police, prosecutors, witnesses, and courts to obtain successful convictions; and provincial government funding of victim protection services varied greatly.
One of the focus areas of this study is Mt. Kendeng, Cekungan Air Tanah, in Watu Putih, Rembang (CAT Watu Putih) in the ring of the Karst Mountains in northern Central Java between Grobogan in Central Java and Bojonegoro in East Java. The area is rich in natural springs, has 52 caves and 129 underground rivers, and a diverse variety of flora and fauna (WALHI &www.daulathijau.org). The Daulat Hijau website was established by the local community to address problems related to mining in the area. Since 2008, there has been ongoing resistance, including from the indigenous (adat) people of Sukolilo Sedulur Sikep, and now in CAT Watu Putih. Sukinah and hundreds of other mothers are blocking access to the cement mine to protect their livelihoods. The area is renowned for its native bats that produce phosphate fertiliser for the local farmers. The vegetation of North Kendeng supports many bird species. Of the 9,200 bird species in the world, 1,500 species are found in Indonesia, and 45 species are found in Karst Kendeng (NatGeo). The cement industry endangers the water sources for 306.727 women and their families in Rembang who are now struggling to protect the water-capture. Other women narratives of Supi and Magdalena have showed the worst reality of how dam and infrastructure could changed women’s livelihood via the loss threat of biodiversity and water which then impacted on women’s reproductive healt.
Karst is a significant water-capture area and a major water source for four regencies in Central Java, including Pati, Jepara, Rembang, and Blora. Since the arrival of illegal sand-mining and illegal logging, water availability is decreasing. Large rivers in CAT Watu Putih are decreasing in flow to the areas of Sumber Semen, Brubulan-Tahunan, Brubulan-Pasucen, Waru and Kajar. This then impacts directly on women’s SRHR in Rembang Regency. In one interview Sukinah explained the primary function of Karst cave was water collection. Without continued proactive legislation to conservation Karst cave, many of these delicate ecosystems will eventually be destroyed and lost forever. It then increased hunger and malnutrition of women and children. During dry-season 2015, water is scarce and harvest is failed. Poor women specifically is found difficult to afford the food compared previously. Karst topography has sustained the lives of local farmers for generations. Sukinah and group of mothers led a non-violent resistance against both PT Semen Indonesia and the governor who legalized the establishment of Cement Mining in CAT Watu Putih. The women’s solidarity and protest was a reaction against government intervention in the lives of people living around teak forests in the Kendeng area. Women farmers believe that the only way to make a living is by cultivating the land, therefore they should protect the ecosystem of the Karst Mountains and its abundant springs that collect the water with which they sustain their lives.
Women of CAT Watu Putih have been blockading the Cement-Site since July 2014 and continue their peaceful resistance by erecting blue-tents to guard the Karst-mountain. Farming communities in the mountainous region of CAT Watu Putih depend on this spring water. As the government is not able to provide irrigation water, the flow of water from this mountain is the only water source for agriculture. Women’s SRHR is influenced highly by this. During interview with Ming Ming Lukiarti, local ecology activist at an NU-Islam based organization, she explained that “The lack of access to SRH information – in tandem with the emergence of increased numbers of bars and clubs that accompanied illegal mining activities – has increased the risk of high-risk sexual behavior among adults (and adolescents), placing them at risk of STIs, including HIV infection”. The ecological contour has changed as well as the sexual behavior of the local community, specifically as a result of miners from the other regions entering the area. During interview with a local health nurse (Bidan Puskesmas), it was explained that the prevalence of this deadly virus is kept secret by the community. Thus, numbers are not assessed accurately and three cases were found during the study-field-visit (reported by Ming-Ming Lukiarti, October 2014).
Climate Change has altered the face of resource distribution. Local communities are prone to diminished access to the natural sources they had accessed for generations prior to governmental, factory and mining disputes over the land. This affects sources of water, biodiversity, livelihoods, and women’s SRHR. Farmers reported that since 2000 there was climate chaos that made them unable to predict the time to plant. The rainy season arrived almost 3 months late. Climate chaos then influences drought and floods, making women’s access to water more difficult. Women bear the brunt of climate change. With women and girls travelling further distances to collect water, it increases risks of sexual violence. The general findings on this are: first, climate change has altered the farming sector and other sectors that depend highly on natural resources and abundant water. Second, food security is then highly affected which leads to the rise in price of staple foods. Third, women are migrating more to the urban areas than to rural areas by working as maids or migrant workers abroad. In the worst cases, they are being trafficked as sex workers, thus limiting women’s access to SRHR services due to the status of migration.
Droughts and floods cause an increase in the number of poor and displaced persons. Problems such as shortage of food, water, possessions and valuable goods, routinely occur chiefly in areas of high disaster risk due to climate change. Commonly, the number of poor people increases at times of extreme rain and extended dry seasons. Factors such as crop failure, lack of access to water and land and property loss are primary factors in increasing poverty. The wealth management sector of villagers, such as supported government programs for livestock management using approaches that complement and draw on the traditional ways of feed processing through new incorporating new technologies, and monitoring the health of caged animals that take into account the risk of local disaster have not been priority programs. Therefore, when a disaster occurs, livestock care (feed, cages and animal health) becomes a major problem. The failure of the integration program is that related SKPD, such as the agriculture and animal husbandry departments, did not deal with disaster risks. The above conditions directly increase migration rates, due to diminished local job opportunities and social livelihood issues. New problems are triggered by economic problems and damage to primary sources of livelihood. In the end, these factors exacerbate women’s SRHR needs, and increase both trafficking and the Maternal Mortality Rate in Central Java.
There is an urgent need to mainstream gender and women’s SRHR into media policy which can be led by the government through climate-change related policies. If not, the situation will only continue to negatively impact on women’s livelihoods and access to SRHR. Women’s SRHR is the key issue that has been omitted from critical policy formulations. Development (or ideology Pembangunan) has not yet regarded ecology and environmental perspective as part of its major vision. The governance of natural resources are not yet transparent and not for the best interest of societal livelihood. Paying too much attention on booming-Economy has squandered the ecological system which at the end risking humanity’s livelihood, biodiversity and long-term development. The study concludes that human-made climate change and loss of biodiversity has made women the poorest victims in terms of their SRHR.
Damage to the ecology of the village is the main cause of rural to urban migration or deciding to work abroad as migrant workers. Currently, residents of the village are children, parents (seniors) and men as village guards. While women work as housewives, and in factories and other sectors that require basic skills. This situation changed the relationship of the village and the village structures.
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