Covid-19 pandemic has impacted not only some sectors but also humans. In this case, women have been the most vulnerable group in the Covid-19 pandemic situation. They have been hit very hard by reality, and only most countries can provide sufficient socio-economic protection for women during a pandemic.
United Nations data reported that only 25 countries had shown serious attempts to protect women during the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic does hit not only health problems but also the socio-economic and psychological support of women.
In addition, in the post-conflict areas such as Maluku, Poso, and Aceh that have not fully recovered from its conflict. Moreover, the occurrence of the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a worse impact on women.
Dr. Arifah Rachmawati, as a senior researcher at UGM PSKP UGM, considered that the Covid-19 pandemic causes difficulties for women ex-combatants in Aceh. She also added it was not only about the pandemic. They also have not finished with the problems of past conflicts.
“This pandemic certainly adds to the problem. The problem of a pandemic in post-conflict areas adds more multi-layered problem,” Arifah said on Friday (13/11) on a webinar with the theme Women, Pandemics and Social Change in Post-Conflict Areas held by the UGM Center for Security and Peace Studies.
Arifah added that former female combatants in Aceh still haven’t yet believed in the risk of the Covid-19 pandemic. Women who were former combatants in Aceh thought about a threat only when they were confronted with being killed, raped, tortured, and others. Accordingly, they still do not believe in Covid-19’s risks because they think Covid-19 is not a real threat.
“So, their memories of past conflicts are still closely attached, even though it is difficult for them to call Covid-19 a threat, but conflict-19,” he said.
According to her, the dismissal of Covid-19 is also a blaming against the never-ending conflict for Acehnese women, causing them to be resilient (to survive) in their own ways. Therefore, in the middle of the pandemic, theoretically, it was a bounded agency.
“There are conditions where they have to encounter structures and norms when they have to behave and must adjust to the existing structures that restrict them,” she revealed.
According to Arifah’s perspective, former female combatants in Aceh do not have single profiles. Their gender identity intersects with social status and creates a hierarchy. There are female combatants in the topmost hierarchy who get all the access, some of them have one of the accesses, and there are those who have no access at all up to this day after 15 years of the Helsinki MoU.
“And unluckily, they have not been able to be a part of Indonesian citizens although there has been reintegration,” she explained.
Suraiya Kamaruzzaman, St.L.Lm., M.T, as Presidium of Balai Surya Ureung Ining Aceh, continued that patriarchal culture holds many influences on women’s roles. Concerning Aceh, she revealed that several hundred years ago was far away more egalitarian than today.
“The patriarchal culture is stronger nowadays. Several hundred years ago, it was common if an Acehnese executive said that Aceh did not matter about women’s role because it had a queen, a female admiral, but not for now. The evidence is that the issue of women’s empowerment has never been given derivative rules. Hence, they cannot be optimally used,” she said.
Author: Agung Nugroho
Translator: Natasa A