Indonesien: Nani Zulminarni

The society only recognizes men, not women, as heads of family.

— Nani Zulminarni

Nani Zulminarni (born 1962), a gender and development specialist, has been working on women's issues in Indonesia since 1987. In 2001, she initiated Program Pemberdayaan Perempuan Kepala Keluarga (Pekka), the Female Household Heads Empowerment Program, to instil confidence in women so that they can better deal with gender discrimination in society. At present, there are approximately 6000 female heads of families in over 200 villages in eight provinces who are members of Pekka.

Nani Zulminarni has been fighting gender discrimination for 18 years. In the past few years, she has concentrated on empowering poor female household heads, especially widows and single mothers. She is particularly concerned about the discrimination women face in spite of the central roles they play in the family, especially in the absence of the men. A divorcee and mother of three teenagers, she herself is the sole breadwinner in the family. "I have personally experienced discriminatory treatment, harassment and scorn because of my status as a divorcee," Nani says. But she considers herself luckier than many other women, being educated and more knowledgeable of her rights and fair treatment for women like herself. An economically independent and proud single mother, she wants every single mother and female breadwinner to share such confidence and independence. In 2001, she initiated the Program Pemberdayaan Perempuan Kepala Keluarga (Pekka), a comprehensive program to economically and politically empower marginalized women breadwinners. "It is the first program in Indonesia that focuses on poor women who have been marginalized because of their marital status," she explains. Pekka works with more than 6000 female household heads in 200 villages in Aceh, Southeast Sulawesi, North Maluku, West Kalimantan, West Java, Central Java, West Nusa Tenggara and East Nusa Tenggara. It facilitates women’s economic activities, helps them organize and build networks, raises their awareness of women's rights and gender equality and provides them with training on leadership and practical life skills. Nani says that many widows and single mothers have begun to show the courage to declare their marital status loudly and proudly. "They can now show that their world without husbands can also be beautiful and dynamic."

Program Pemberdayaan Perempuan Kepala Keluarga (Pekka)