Political Synergy of Youth and Women

Sinergi Politik Pemuda dan Perempuan
Image credit: rumahpemilu.org

In almost every election, there are strong aspirations from two citizen identity groups, namely, youth and women. From the perspective of the youth, there is political anxiety that this group is only being used as an object of votes by election participants who are dominated by older groups. For women, the goal of women's representation of at least 30% in parliament continues to involve hope and effort.

It is important for youth and women's groups to realize that they need each other. The synergy of the two can achieve a more representative government. Youth groups connected to women's groups will have more significant numbers. Synergy and political agendas must be linked to political parties, candidates, and electoral districts.

The political synergy of women and youth is an effort to unite two citizen identities in achieving national empowerment for the ideals of justice. Women and youth as identities can work together by realizing their similarities. Based on causality, it is very reasonable because both of them are in a marginal and discriminatory state. Based on quantity, this is very significant because women and youth constitute around 50% of the total population (BPS and KPU data 2023). In country politics, where the selection of rulers and evaluation is centered on elections, it is very important to convert the basis of quality and quantity, from mass to votes to seats of power, to give birth to fairer policies.

The intersectionality of the politics of hope

The women's group has the concept and experience of synergizing various groups. This political synergy is the politics of hope. The politics of hope in feminism is a concept that refers to social and political changes that are expected to bring about significant changes in life as a whole. The emphasis on hope is the essence of marginal politics. In it, there is a narrative about a strong desire to achieve equality or simply a better life. The politics of hope believe that political action aimed at achieving equality and justice will produce a society without violence and discrimination. Feminism has a strong characteristic as a politics of hope because it is supported by the ideal motivation to achieve complete equality (Coleman & Ferreday 2010). Political philosophers Chantal Mouffe (1943–) and Ernesto Laclau (1935–2014) place hope as a desire that expresses daily actions and political activities.

Apart from that, feminism has the concept of intersectionality. This is a deep approach that recognizes that gender inequality cannot be separated from inequality based on race, social class, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and other identity factors, including youth. Intersectionality seeks to understand and address the ways in which systems of power are interconnected and influence each other. When youth politics incorporate a feminist intersectionality perspective into their activism, they can play a role in creating more inclusive and equitable change for all groups in society. This enables the realization of shared goals for gender equality and social justice (Runyan, 2018).

Apart from women's political identity and feminism having experiences and ideological concepts regarding the subordination of body identity, women's political identity has also become an umbrella for the struggle for the ideals of freedom, equality, and justice. All kinds of bodily identities that experience violence, marginalization, and discrimination are under the umbrella of the women's movement (Zournazi 2002). This is done as feminism covers the identity groups of workers, the weak economy, disabilities, indigenous communities, sexual/gender orientation/changes of minorities (even men), environmental issues, and others.

Youth politics, which is based on awareness of discrimination and oppression and hopes for an equal and just life, has the same political hopes as women. Thus, the union of these two subordinate body identities is not contradictory. In fact, the two are mutual because women's politics, which is an umbrella for youth politics, will increase the mass and expand the reach of the political influence of equality to achieve justice.

Evidence of synergy in the Women's March

The Women's March can be evidence of the intimate political identity of women and youth. The celebration of International Women's Day, March 8, not only serves to convey the women's agenda every year but also serves to show the strength of mass numbers of political identities. If we refer to the Women's March in Indonesia every year, many of the march participants are young people. This colossal action on the streets was not only massive offline but also online via social media. For example, the Womens March Jakarta Instagram account, which as of July 26, 2023, had more than 17,300 followers,

Amazingly, the Women's March was not only held in Jakarta. Based on references from local Women's March accounts on Instagram, a number of regions in Indonesia also have initiators and masses for the International Women's Day March. Just to name a few, there are the Women's March Yogyakarta (2,554), Malang (1,452), Kupang (1,347), Lampung (892), Cirebon (572), Serang (578), Jember (460), and others. Many of them were initiated by young people who connected and communicated with each other.

The International Women's Day parade also proved the synergy of women's and youth's identities, which merge into the identities of young women. This makes us aware that within a woman's identity there is a youth identity, and within a youth's identity there is also a woman's identity. In terms of female identity, the number of young people is greater than the number of old people. In youth identity, the number of women is relatively equal to the number of men.

The phenomenon of synergy between women and youth in the Women's March, which is based on digital activism, also occurs in many countries. This global trend has not even occurred in the dynamics of the wave of feminism. Younger gender activists are returning to some of the basic concerns of the second wave, including issues of sexual harassment and violence, sexual freedom in the broadest sense, and the distribution of capital and labor organizing (Kauppert & Kerner 2016). What is different is that these gender activists have new practices in the form of social media. Lucy Mangan and other feminists in The Feminism Book (2019) are of the view that the fourth wave of feminism is online feminism.

The high dynamics of activism and feminist thinking automatically refute the assessment of outsiders around a decade ago. Feminism was once declared outdated. Some people emphasize the term "post-feminist age". The Women's March, which continues to be busy with participants, includes campaigns and education on social media, proving that feminist activism is experiencing an extraordinary revival in many regions, countries, and the world, calling for bodily autonomy in freedom of expression, reproductive health, and resistance to sexual violence, as well as assistance and protection for victims. So it is not wrong that a new wave of feminism is underway (Molyneux et al., 2021).

Through this positive new trend, broader awareness needs to be included. First, women's and youth political movements should not pursue a single gender agenda but rather struggle for various aspirations and fight discrimination for the interests of various marginalized groups. Second, because of this diverse and participatory agenda, the feminist approach no longer returns to the emphasis of the second or first waves of feminism, but rather the third wave of feminism with its intersectional approach (Kauppert & Kerner 2016).

The political synergy between women and youth at the cultural level is very important to follow up on at the structural level. The alleged dominance of young people in the Women's March is important to prove by the tradition of recording numbers. Every year, how many people take part in the Women's March, both in Jakarta and other cities? How many usually act as initiators or managers? How many participants? How many people donated funds or purchased Women's March products? So, how certain is the dominance of youth in the management and participation of the Women's March? Everything is important to record in quantity, including name and domicile.

It is important that a significant number of women and youth are combined to be able to represent the politics of hope in representative institutions. The level of women's representation in parliament is described by the balance of gender (and other) identities in legislative power. Women, who constitute half of the country's population, have four important reasons for representation (Phillips 1995), namely: 1) offering role models from successful female politicians; 2) demanding the principle of gender justice; 3) identifying the special needs of women that are neglected; and 4) improving the quality of political life.

If women and youth work together, the number and reach of political hopes will significantly strengthen, starting with the mass base, candidacy, and political electability. State institutions that are representative of women and youth will be more likely to produce laws and policies that protect and equalize their citizens to achieve justice. []