Northwestern Events Calendar


Gender Politics in Indonesia's Maternal and Child Health Programs

When: Tuesday, February 18, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

Where: 1800 Sherman Avenue, 3rd Floor, Evanston, IL 60201 map it

Audience: Graduate Students

Contact: Elizabeth Morrissey  

Group: Equality Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS)

Category: Lectures & Meetings


EDGS Graduate Student Lecture Series

Sari Ratri, Anthropology

Population control projects in Indonesia seem to rely predominantly on women’s participation. In many cases, women are the principal target group for a range of intervention projects. Contraceptive use in the 1970s’  “two is enough” program, utilization of the clinical birth system to reduce maternal and child mortality rates by 2015, and the most recent national focus on child growth stunting prevention actions all use the rhetoric of women’s power as the asset for boosting development outcomes. A number of manuals on gender-inclusive framework have been produced on methods of mobilizing women and promoting women’s participatory groups; others focus on exploring women’s knowledge and capacity for the decision-making process. A maternal and neonatal mortality reduction program funded by the government of Australia, Revolusi Kesehatan Ibu dan Anak, promoted clinical birth in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, with birthing at home deemed high-risk and, thus, necessarily prohibited in the name of protecting the population’s health. To ensure compliance, the Indonesian government put in play reward and punishment as disciplining techniques adopted from the program’s manuals. In this presentation, I reflect on the process and consequences of translating gender as a paradigmatic concept into technical and measured performance indicators of development activities in maternal and child health programs. This project further attempts to interrogate the notion of women’s empowerment used by intervention programs that focus on maternal and child health in rural Indonesia. 

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