Indonesian financial regulators ready to promote financial inclusion of women

financial inclusion of women

Twenty-five leaders from Indonesia’s financial regulatory bodies have completed the Australia Awards Indonesia short course on promoting financial inclusion for women, delivered by The Australia-Indonesia Centre and Monash Business School.

At the post-course workshops held in Jakarta last week, the 25, separated into four inter-departmental groups, presented strategies for improving current processes to a range of key government stakeholders, including Vice Minister of Finance Minister Dr Suahasil Nazara.

The targeted beneficiaries of the proposed solutions included housewives, retirees and low-income families, but first, senior policymakers must be convinced to implement the plans. To this end, high-ranking audience members proved valuable as did the chance to practise explaining and ‘selling’ the proposals.

In his remarks, Dr Suahasil recognised the value of ‘thinking behind the desk’ for brainstorming solutions for complex policy challenges, and the privilege as a policymaker of having the time to do so in a busy work environment.

Indonesia’s Vice Minister of Finance Dr Suahasil Nazara delivers remarks to short course participants.

“One of the key problems in Indonesian policymaking is that we often don’t know the right questions,” said the Vice-Minister.

“This program is valuable for this reason: that you get to learn so you can arrive at the right questions.”

The participants also presented to Mr Arfi Rafnialdi, Executive Chairman of West Java Development Acceleration Team (TAP).

Two groups plan to trial their respective programs in West Java, and Mr Rafnialdi has already connected the short course participants with his team to follow up on their plans.

The Vice Minister took a selfie with the short course participants and guests.


Media coverage of the program and a summary of the participants’ solutions can be found below.

In the media



Summary of proposed solutions


Group A-D: ‘PKH Plus’ – Leveraging conditional cash transfers to promote financial inclusion and wellbeing
  • Aprilia Ratna Palupi (Indonesia Financial Services Authority – OJK)
  • Isnanto (Ministry of Finance)
  • Nur Cahyadi (National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction – TNP2K)
  • Wini P. Apriliani (Bank Indonesia)
  • Juwita Lukytasari P. (Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs)
  • Neo Yessi P. (Ministry of Finance)
  • Purnagunawan (National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction – TNP2K)
  • Tri Wulandari (Indonesia Financial Services Authority – OJK)


Program Keluarga Harapan (Family Hope Program, PKH) is a conditional cash transfer program that provides direct cash benefits to over 17 million Indonesians spread across approximately 10 million households. The program’s impact on financial inclusion is limited by the recipients’ generally low financial literacy levels. Out of the 17.2% of Indonesians who receive government benefits, 32.4% don’t have a bank account, and only 24.6% access benefits through ATMs. Furthermore, a majority of bank account owners don’t have savings.

Proposed solutions

Complementing PKH with:

Introduction of mandatory savings of 10% from PKH benefits transferred to nominated bank accounts
Inclusion of financial literacy modules in Family Development Sessions
Formulation of a whole-of-government strategy on financial inclusion

The program would be trialled in West Java, East Java, Southeast Sulawesi, and West Sumatra in late 2020 with a view for national adoption by late 2021.

Benchmarking with Australia

Australia has 99% financial inclusion, with government benefits entirely delivered through nominated bank accounts.


Group B-C: Reskilling housewives
  • Afif Hanifah (Ministry of Finance)
  • Millennia A. Susanti (Ministry of Finance)
  • Ridhony M.H. Hutasoit (Indonesia Financial Services Authority – OJK)
  • Sylvia N. (Indonesia Deposit Insurance Corporation – LPS)
  • Eni Widiyanti (Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs)
  • Titi Safitri (Indonesia Financial Services Authority – OJK)
  • Rizki Novalia (Ministry of Finance)
  • Hilman Palaon (Indonesia Financial Services Authority – OJK)


The gender pay gap in Indonesia is 22.87%. Indonesian women’s participation in the workforce is 50.89%, a stark contrast compared to men’s 82.51% participation rate. Around 38% of Indonesian women (36 million) are full-time housewives; and 6 out of 10 of them have previous working experience, either in the formal or informal economy. The underutilised skills of Indonesian women in the economy contribute to the gender pay gap.

Proposed solutions

  • Skills mapping of Indonesian housewives
  • Delivering skills-based training modules
  • Matching skilled housewives with businesses while facilitating flexible working arrangements

The proposed solutions would be trialled with 200 participants aged 25-59 in West Java, which has the largest number of housewives in Indonesia (7.9 million) by mid 2021.

Benchmarking with Australia

Gender pay gap in Australia of 14% due to greater women participation in the workforce.


Group E: Financial literacy education & incentive-based retirement savings for women
  • Budi Arif (Ministry of Finance)
  • Riyadina Tri Wardhani (Indonesia Deposit Insurance Corporation – LPS)
  • Sri Kusumastuti Rahayu (National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Reduction – TNP2K)
  • Vidyartha Indra Surya (Indonesia Financial Services Authority – OJK)
  • Wista Amalia Narulita (Indonesia Financial Services Authority – OJK)


Only 12% of Indonesian retirees have access to the government’s superannuation fund (Program Jaminan Pensiun) and 23% of Indonesian workers currently contribute their income to social protection programs, including super fund. Meanwhile, only 6% of Indonesians are currently preparing for their retirement.

Proposed solutions

  • Financial literacy program for working women without savings: the program will be trialled in two cities and two villages with 800 women aged 19-40, before scaled nationally.
  • Incentive-based retirement savings program: participants would be encouraged to make monthly savings contribution towards a savings goal within a defined period. If the savings target is achieved, government and/or businesses will match the savings amount.

Benchmarking with Australia

The program is inspired by Saver Plus program by Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ, in which ANZ matches up to $500 in education costs if a 10-month savings goal is achieved.


Group F: Budget reform to accelerate financial inclusion
  • Gustaf Kasmin (Ministry of Finance)
  • Jardine Ariena Husman (Bank Indonesia)
  • Purwandi Santoso (Ministry of Finance)
  • Karlina Aucia Agusta (Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs)


Government programs and activities are extensive yet fragmented, both at the national and the regional level. Furthermore, despite increasing state budget for social protection programs, government funding that addresses financial inclusion of women is not currently tracked, making it impossible to measure the impact of state programs on the economic participation of women.

Proposed solutions

  • Mapping existing government programs and funding which addresses financial inclusion of women
  • Coordination between relevant national and regional government departments
  • Redesigning programs and associated budget target on financial inclusion of women to avoid duplication and to increase efficiency of state budget

Partnerships Coordinator