President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla declared economic independence as part of “Nawacita”, their nine-point priority plan to be achieved by 2019. Financial inclusion for, and the literacy of, at least half of the population by then is one aim, aided by technology. Women are among the main groups left behind, although many now work in jobs other than that of housewife— although that’s not to knock the important role that home-making has in family lives.
“At the end of the day, women administer and care for their families’ financial matters,” Lauren Sulistiawati, President Director of Commonwealth Bank Indonesia, says. “Commonwealth Bank helps equip them with the necessary tools, all delivered as simply as possible through WISE, which stands for Women Investment Series.” Indonesia is already quite advanced and structured in its efforts to empower women, although efforts are not evenly distributed and are more focused at the top level, according to Lauren. She has worked for 25 years in local and international banks. The real challenge in her journey till now is not about gender, she reveals.
“As far as I’ve experienced, it’s more about capability and credibility—how to earn the trust and respect from those above, around and below,” Lauren says. “It’s true that there are more men in most companies’ top positions, but I believe that women can do it with confidence and courageousness, plus trust and credibility.” Women are empowered in the sense that they have “irons in many fires”, according to Lauren. Some are both heads at home and work, besides executing roles as mothers, daughters, in-laws, and more.
“Those roles are given to us and it’s up to us to do the best in each one,” says Lauren, “It’s not easy, because it’s all about how you balance it, embrace it, take it forward and deliver it above and beyond expectations.”
Read the full article or our talks about the Indonesia women empowerment with Lauren Sulistiawati in Indonesia Tatler October 2016 edition.
(Photo by Irfan Wahyudi (Lentera Fotografie); fine jewellery by Wanda house of Jewels; dress/clothes by Ikat Indonesia by Didiet Maulana; make up by Bubah Alfian for Cle de Peau; stylist by LiLian Ng)