Women in Indonesia still struggle to gain equality in the workplace, in education and politics-- and also face increasing incidents of violence and abuse.
That was the message of hundreds of women activists who marched in Yogyakarta to mark International Women's Day.
"We need our voices to be heard. We hope equality for women in Indonesia will inspire many other countries and also will encourage democratisation in Indonesia," Mari Suci, coordinator of the March 8th event, told Khabar Southeast Asia.
The day served as an important reminder for the government and all elements of society to provide fair and equal opportunities for women, said Mari, who works with the Indonesian Women Advocacy Circle (Lingkar Advokasi Perempuan Indonesia).
Women workers are prone to sexual abuse and salary discrimination, she said. "We hope there will be more Indonesian women aware of this. We want them to speak up and join us to assure that our demands will be heard by our leaders."
"Please speak up"
The National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan) recorded 279,760 cases of violence against women in 2013, about 63,000 more than in 2012.
Komnas Perempuan member Yuniyanti Chuzaifah said this alarming increase was due in part to the lack of legal protection for women. It does not reflect the true amount of violence since many incidents go unreported, she said.
"We hope our government will take some initiative to improve women's rights and protection. I encourage every woman to not be afraid to report any incident of violence. Please speak up," Yuniyanti told Khabar.
"By reporting any kind of violence, they are not only helping themselves but also helping others in the same situation."
Muhammad Husain Abdullah, a Muslim community leader in Sleman Yogyakarta, stressed the important role women play in family, community and country.
"It is very important for each woman to be part of our country's development. They are our foundation to build a strong country," he told Khabar.
West Java legislative candidate Lisdawaty Matakupan attributed increasing violence to declining moral values.
"We need to focus on law enforcement to stop any acts of violence against women and children. We also need to increase the ability of women: more women should be encouraged to finish their education," she told Khabar.