Unleashing Women’s Leadership in Indonesia

The statistic is there. Despite the same opportunity to enter company in the entry level, thru the mid and top management, the number is decreasing. Only 5% of women in Indonesia remain to be at the top. ‘Ignoring’ the potential of half of population is not so smart. So what’s happened?

At “Unleashing Women’s Leadership in Indonesia” seminar by McKinsey and Femina Magazine, when Joanna Barsh, writer of book “How Remarkable Women Lead”, ask about what barriers hold women in the room, most of the women said, it’s personal barriers that hold them back. Women tend to belittling themselves, have a sense of ‘I’m not good enough’, fear to take risks and the guilt of feeling choosing work over family that stop them from going to the top.

Cultural barrier, especially in Indonesia, also play big part. Being successful often seen as a negative term for women (or wife and mother), but highly encouraged for men.

If there’s a person that couldn’t see anything as a barrier, it must be mbak Marta Jonatan, HR director at Microsoft Indonesia who sat beside me at the event. She told me that her husband once willing to let go of of his job and going with her to work at Philippines and let her get to the top of the company. An example of a good communication and understanding between husband and wife. Mbak Marta also doesn’t really care what people might say about her family situation that ‘slightly’ different than other people. As a leader, you’ve got to be able to focus on the things that really matter.

Ibu Mari Elka Pangestu’s speech on the event sum it all up: we need to do the best we can and use technology as a tool to go to the top.

I’d like to thank my best girl Sati Rasuanto, the Managing Director of Endeavor Indonesia, to recommend me to attend this inspiring event.




A writer of 30 books. Co-Founder & CMO & Initiate StartupLokal, the biggest startup community in Indonesia. Co-Managing Director of Girls in Tech Indonesia.


  • khansa

    dulu kesempatan wanita untuk mendapatkan pendidikan dan meraih cita banyak terbentur dengan persepsi masyarakat.. keterbatasan dalam meraih pendidikan begitu terasa. Yup, wanita mampu untuk bersinar dan berprestasi..
    Namun setelah menikah, yg paling utama adalah mendidik generasi penerus.. Aktualisasi diri tetap bisa dilakukan jg loh.. ;)


  • Sonika

    Great job as usual Matthew! I didn’t read your note above and kept thinking I was seieng movement in the pictures while they were still loading. Finally, I let it finish loading and watched them all! It is cool how you animated them funny at times, but cool. I like Cyndi’s moves by the pillars! : )


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