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Circular economy is making women’s work, work for women

Circular economy is making women’s work, work for women

Ilustrasi Oleh: Marsha

Written by:

Hannah Dayman

Deakin University

CWTS UGM-ACICIS Intern (January – February 2022)

The implementation of circular economy principles in countries around the world is as recent as it is varied, with states working alongside international organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to encourage the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Circular economy (CE) and its influence on social development is a relatively new area of research, particularly regarding the relationship between CE and gender equity. The OECD has released research and frameworks on areas where the implementation of CE may affect and increase gender equity. The 2019 OECD report on CE and gender highlights areas of environmental degradation, the globalised fashion industry, waste management, and women's consumer patterns as critical components that will be affected where CE policy is implemented. A common trend in the gender analysis applied by organisations of the global North is a lack of differentiation between women from different socio-political and cultural backgrounds. The OECD undertook studies of gendered patterns from developed and developing countries; however, there was little emphasis regarding how women's socio-economic circumstances would reap different results and how this reflects in local governmental policy. The one-size-fits-all approach fails to provide much needed context when seeking to implement policy or commit resource allocation to grassroots initiatives and programs that empower the individual. This article aims to deconstruct how international organisations, such as the OECD, understand the relationship between CE and gender, using Indonesia as a representative case study for CE's application in developing countries and Australia as a case study for developed countries.

The concept of environmental sustainability has been a rapidly growing movement since the 1960s and '70s. However, the Australian government did not integrate the CE framework until the 2018 National Waste Policy. Since then, think tanks such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIRO) have been tasked with investigating the benefits of CE in an Australian context. Australia's environmental and economic sustainability journey is seemingly in its research and discovery phase. Without a strong push from policymakers and government ministers, corporations have little incentive to adopt the framework themselves. Even though many international organisations and Australian-led think-tanks have proved CE to benefit business owners and consumers both fiscally and environmentally, corporate hesitation derives from a lack of information, understanding, and 'top-down' incentives. As a result, most efforts toward CE in Australia have been made by investors and consumers.

Women, in particular, have been progressing the CE movement in extraordinary ways. Generally, women as consumers are a powerful influence and statistically inclined to be the group most responsible for small, frequent household purchases, and having a high literacy regarding eco-branded product labels. While women are not the only members of Australian society that are using their purchasing power to direct companies to adopt a CE method of practice, they are further involved in several initiatives to educate consumers and change Australian industries. For example, 2018 saw the inaugural Australia Circular Fashion Conference that covers 'advocacy and awareness towards consumer change management'. Furthermore, the South Australian government have implemented the 'Women in Circular Economy Leadership Awards', selecting one woman each year to represent CE in action through education efforts and environmentally sustainable management practices. According to the OECD report, these examples demonstrate gender-specific consumption patterns and the active promotion of women's role in CE.

In addition to consumer power driving corporations into greener economic practices, the adoption of CE in Indonesia affects women as producers and informal, unpaid workers. This is primarily due to poor working conditions and exposure to toxic pollutants that are the by-product of the work women typically undertake. While Indonesia has gained momentum in its transition into a green economy, policymakers are yet to give necessary weight to women-focused programs and initiatives within the scope of CE. A 2021 report led by Kementerian PPN Bappenas and the Danish Embassy highlighted Indonesia's vital economic sectors that would best suit CE implementation. The OECD report was cited within the analysis, indicating women are the most likely to benefit from CE in Indonesia. Among the reasons for this is greater access for women to formal, green jobs creating financial security, less exposure to dangerous chemicals used in work practices, or from plastic burning in waste management. The report stated that women are likely to fill up to 75 per cent of the potential green jobs available through CE. Similarly to Australia, however, policymakers fail to give appropriate credence to the connection between CE and gender equity. The United Nations (UN) SDGs Roadmap for Indonesia, CE, is listed as a recommendation for Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth), with no mention of the potential impacts CE has on Goal 5 (gender parity and women's empowerment).

Grassroots programs in Indonesia have identified the beneficial relationship between CE and gender. There are several programs that have been identified in the greater Jakarta region by a 2018 study. Examples include the Gerakan Indonesia Kantong Plastik (Indonesia's Plastic Bag Diet Movement), Waste4Change – which provides corporations, communities, and individuals consultancy and support in green waste management, and SiDalang – which provides ‘training on upcycling and business development to local women'. Grassroots organisations and SMEs are ostensibly driving the force behind Indonesia's acceptance and future with a CE through their prioritising waste management and the re/up-cycling of waste resources. Results of women participating in these upcycling training and social enterprise programs demonstrate the benefits the OECD report highlighted. This includes improved life skills and the ability to experience and explore entrepreneurship, thus improving overall welfare.

While the connection between CE and gender equity has been established and investigated by international organisations and states alike, further prioritisation must be placed on supporting organisations and programs that facilitate and encourage the relationship. The contrast between CE influence on women in Australia and Indonesia is evident. The OECD report is comprehensive insofar as it identifies how women are affected by CE and how women globally work, consume, and influence. For example, women in higher socio-economic positions can be involved in CE through their consumer power; by influencing corporations and businesses to implement greener production processes. Equally, women who work in unsafe conditions due to the linear economy will benefit from the incorporation of circular practices that will provide better jobs, financial stability, and enhanced overall wellbeing. The OECD report and consequential research aiming to understand the connection between CE and gender is the first step to a green future. However, further advocacy is needed to establish a specific, local policy that centres on women as crucial actors in CE, considering individuals' strengths and limitations based on socio-economic and cultural standpoints.

Africa-Indonesia Trade Relations: Current Status, Strategic Issues, and Future Trajectories

Africa-Indonesia Trade Relations: Current Status, Strategic Issues, and Future Trajectories

Pusat Studi Perdagangan Dunia Universitas Gadjah Mada (PSPD UGM) menyelenggarakan webinar internasional pada Rabu (8/12/21), bertajuk “Africa-Indonesia Trade Relations: Current Status, Strategic Issues, and Future Trajectories”. Kegiatan ini terlaksana sebagai bentuk kolaborasi Indo-Africa Centre UGM dan PSPD UGM guna mendiskusikan relasi perdagangan negara-negara Afrika dengan Indonesia dari segi perkembangan kapabilitas perdagangan, investasi, dan tenaga kerja, strategi yang tepat untuk memperkuat keberlanjutan relasi, serta arah hubungan perdagangan masing-masing negara berdasarkan kesepakatan kerjasama yang sudah dan sedang berlangsung.

Kegiatan ini dibuka oleh Dr. Ika Dewi Ana, selaku Wakil Rektor Penelitian dan Pengabdian Masyarakat UGM, dan Prof. Frednard Gideon, selaku Wakil Rektor Akademik Universitas Namibia. Webinar dihadiri oleh dua duta besar Indonesia untuk negara-negara di Afrika sebagai pembicara di webinar ini, yakni Duta Besar Al Busyra Basnur (selaku Duta Besar Republik Indonesia untuk Etiopia, Djibouti, dan Uni Afrika) dan Duta Besar Dr. Mohamad Hery Saripudin (selaku Duta Besar Republik Indonesia untuk Kenya, Uganda, Kongo, Somalia, UNEP, dan UN-HABITAT di Nairobi). Selain mengundang dua pembicara untuk menyampaikan perspektif Indonesia, webinar juga mengundang dua pembicara untuk menyampaikan perspektif negara-negara Afrika terhadap relasi perdagangan Afrika-Indonesia, yakni Dr. Jacob M. Nyambe (selaku Dekan Eksekutif Fakultas Perdagangan, Manajemen dan Hukum, Universitas Namibia) dan Prof. Dr. Azzedine Ghoufrane (selaku Dekan dan Ketua WTO Chairs Programme di Fakultas Hukum, Ekonomi dan Ilmu Sosial, Universitas Mohammed V di Rabat, Maroko).

Seminar ini terdiri dari dua sesi diskusi yang diawali dengan sesi mengenai status terkini dan isu-isu strategis perdagangan antara Indonesia-Afrika serta dilanjutkan dengan sesi mengenai masa depan perdagangan Indonesia-Afrika. Dipandu oleh Siti Daulah Khoiriati, MA, sesi pertama membahas mengenai prioritas Indonesia di Afrika, khususnya Etiopia, dalam memperkuat diplomasi ekonomi, perlindungan warga negara dan mempertahankan perlindungan. Sesi pertama juga menyinggung diskusi seputar isu-isu teknis dalam kerjasama bilateral antara Indonesia dan Afrika khususnya di Namibia bersama dengan Duta Besar Al Busyra Basnur dan Dr. Jacob M. Nyambe.

Pada sesi kedua, diskusi yang dipandu oleh Dr. Maharani Hapsari dan diisi oleh Prof. Dr. Azzedine Ghoufrane beserta Duta Besar Dr. Mohamad Hery Saripudin memberikan diskusi menarik seputar peluang dan hambatan perdagangan dari perspektif Maroko/Afrika Utara secara umum dan dari perspektif Indonesia. Di samping melihat kemampuan ekonomi dalam negeri, keduanya sepakat jika pembenahan institusional dan cara pandang untuk tidak melulu melihat keterbelakangan negara mitra merupakan tahap awal yang penting dalam menjalankan kerja sama perdagangan ke depan.

Seminar ditutup oleh Dr. Riza Noer Arfani, selaku Direktur PSPD UGM dan Chair-holder WTO Chairs Programme PSPD UGM. Dr. Riza menyampaikan kesempatan diskusi semacam ini sangat penting untuk memperkuat pengembangan riset dan kurikulum pengajaran mengenai relasi perdagangan Afrika-Indonesia. Dr. Riza sekaligus berharap bahwa perwakilan duta besar, menteri perdagangan, maupun para kolega lainnya dari Maroko, Namibia, dan Etiopia dapat hadir dan saling bertukar pengetahuan pada kesempatan berikutnya.

Indonesia’s Position and Strategy in Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) Negotiation of the Doha Round and the Role of Domestic Interest Groups

monograf2013_aoaMonograph Series: Strategic Issues of Indonesia International Trade Topics 2013

The role of domestic interest groups is crucial in determining a country’s position and its interest in international trade negotiations. This research mainly focuses on analysing the role of major domestic interest groups related to agricultural sector in Indonesia and how they articulate their interests. This research principally aims at answering the following questions: what are the role and the position taken by the Indonesian government in Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) negotiations during the Doha Round? What strategies have been implemented by the Indonesian government to achieve its interests during the negotiations? Does the Indonesian government’s position in negotiations reflect the interests of its major domestic interest groups? To answer these questions, the data for this research is gathered through documentary evidence particularly official documents published by WTO and the Indonesian government, as well as domestic interests groups’ reports and publications. In addition, in-depth interviews with the representatives of domestic interest groups and government officials are also conducted to gain more comprehensive information.

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