The SIGI 2023 profile for Indonesia provides a comprehensive overview of the state of gender equality in the country, as measured by the OECD’s Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI).1 The fifth edition of the SIGI, released in 2023, assesses 140 countries based on the level of gender-based discrimination in their social institutions. These discriminatory social institutions encompass both formal and informal laws, as well as social norms and practices that restrict women’s and girls’ access to rights, justice, empowerment opportunities and resources, thereby undermining their agency and authority.

In 2023, Indonesia obtained a SIGI score of 45, denoting high levels of discrimination, compared to an average score of 39 in Southeast Asia, denoting medium levels of discrimination, and a world average score of 29.2 The country obtained a score of 80 in the “Discrimination in the family” dimension, followed by “Restricted civil liberties” (36), “Restricted physical integrity” (32) and “Restricted access to productive and financial resources” (18).

Indonesia’s legal system is a mixture of civil law – rooted in French Napoleon Civil Code and codified by the Dutch at the beginning of the 19th century – customary law and Sharia law, which applies to different groups of people depending on their ethnicity and faith (Council of ASEAN Chief Justices, n.d.[2]). Article 18B(2) of the Constitution recognises customary law (sistem hukum adat) as long as it is in line with the principles of Indonesia’s rule of law (Republic of Indonesia, 1945[3]). For instance, the use of customary rights (hak ulayat) in rural communities is recognised in the Law on Basic Regulations on Agrarian Principles (Republic of Indonesia, 1960[4]; Hamzah, Narang and Yusari, 2021[5]). Moreover, marriage and family affairs of Muslims are regulated by Islamic religious law based on Sharia law. The Islamic Law Compilation, promulgated in 1991, contains three chapters that serve as the main legal references on marriage, inheritance, divorce and religious endowments for Indonesia’s religious courts (peradilan agama) that have jurisdiction over Muslims. In the special autonomous province of Aceh, Islamic law also extends to certain criminal offences (Otto, 2010[6]).

Articles 28A to 28J of the Constitution, as amended, and Article 1 of the Law on Human Rights recognise and prohibit multiple and intersectional discrimination3 – which constitutes an essential element to enhance gender equality (Republic of Indonesia, 1945[3]; Republic of Indonesia, 1999[7]). Indonesia ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1984 (United Nations, 1979[8]). Indonesia does not consider itself bound by the provisions of Article 29(1) of the Convention regarding the inter-State dispute procedure (United Nations, 2023[9]). Gender-disaggregated, gender-relevant and intersectional data and indicators are essential to better identify policy areas that have strong linkages with gender. In Indonesia, there are no applicable legal provisions regulating the production and dissemination of gender statistics.

The law in Indonesia grants women the same rights as men to own and use financial assets, which translates into a small gender gap in bank account ownership – women represent 51% of bank account holders. The legal framework also grants women and men the same rights to own and use land and non-land assets, although discriminatory informal laws persist among some ethnic groups for which inheritance follows patrilineal lines of descent. In practice, women represent for 42% of landowners in the country. Indonesia also has a strong legal framework that guarantees women and men equal rights in terms of citizenship rights, freedom of movement and access to justice. However, an important exception is that unmarried women do not have the same legal rights as unmarried men to confer nationality to their children.

Discriminatory laws and social norms that confine women to their care and reproductive roles and position men as the breadwinner and decision maker in the family persist in Indonesia. Notably, the Law on Marriage establishes that a married man is the head of the family, and that his spouse has the obligation to take care of the household. In addition, in line with Sharia principles that regulate family matters for Muslims, Muslim women are required to be devoted to their spouse and do not have the same rights to inherit as men. Social norms that confine women to the private sphere and dictate that men should be the breadwinner of the household are widespread. The vast majority of the population believes that men make better political leaders or business executives than women – 72% and 63% of the population, respectively. In addition, 76% of the population thinks that when jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job than women.


[2] Council of ASEAN Chief Justices (n.d.), Indonesia, (accessed on 15 September 2023).

[5] Hamzah, H., A. Narang and A. Yusari (2021), Legal systems in Indonesia: Overview, Thomson Reuters Corporation, (accessed on 1 October 2023).

[1] OECD (2023), “Social Institutions and Gender Index (Edition 2023)”, OECD International Development Statistics (database), (accessed on 10 January 2024).

[10] OECD Development Centre/OECD (2023), “Gender, Institutions and Development (Edition 2023)”, OECD International Development Statistics (database), (accessed on 11 January 2024).

[6] Otto, J. (2010), Sharia Incorporated. A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems in Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present, Leiden University Press,

[7] Republic of Indonesia (1999), Law No. 39 of 1999 on Human Rights.

[4] Republic of Indonesia (1960), Act No. 5 of 1960 on Basic Regulations on Agrarian Principles.

[3] Republic of Indonesia (1945), Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia.

[9] United Nations (2023), Status of Treaties: Chapter IV - 8. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,

[8] United Nations (1979), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,


← 1. The full SIGI Country Profile for Indonesia is available at: OECD Development Centre (2023), “Indonesia SIGI Country Profile”, SIGI 2023 Country Profiles, OECD,

← 2. SIGI scores range from 0 to 100, with 0 indicating no discrimination and 100 indicating absolute discrimination. Levels of discrimination in the SIGI and its dimensions are assessed based on scores as follow: very low [0-20]; low [20-30]; medium [30-40]; high [40-50]; and very high [50-100].

← 3. Article 1 of the Law on Human Rights specifically outlines that “discrimination means all limitations, affronts, or ostracism, both direct and indirect, on grounds of differences in religion, group of family, race, ethnicity, group, faction, social status, economic status, sex, language, or political belief, that results in the degradation, aberration, or eradication of recognition, execution, or application of human rights and basic freedoms in individual or collective live in the field of politic, economy, law, social, culture, or any other aspects of life” (Republic of Indonesia, 1999[7]).

Legal and rights

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area. Extracts from publications may be subject to additional disclaimers, which are set out in the complete version of the publication, available at the link provided.

© OECD 2024

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at