The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia and the Representative Office of the Central Bank of Indonesia in London held a panel discussion concerning women’s participation in the field of digital economy inviting experts relevant to the field as well as observers of gender issue. The speakers are Dr. Nurhayati Ali Assegaf, M. Si (Member of Parliament of DPR RI from Commission XI and Head of BKSAP DPR RI), Hana A. Satriyo (Former Director for Gender Program and Women’s Participation, Asia Foundation) and Danae Kyriakopoulou (Chief Economist and Head of Research Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum/OMFIF) with Chris Ostrowski (Head of Business Development, OMFIF) serving as moderator.

The event was opened by Chief Deputy Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in London, Chief Representative Office of the Central Bank of Indonesia in London and representative from the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. The event was attended by around 50 participants that consisted of UK businesses, British government and Indonesian students and citizens.

Panelists, during the discussion, noted that digital economy, including fintech is still dominated by men. The 2017 Gender Global Discrepancy Report that was released by the World Economic Forum stated that women have little influence in the field of engineering, machine, and construction as well as information, communication and technology. This is because gender bias that causes restriction in the role of women still exists. In addition, technology sector has not yet valued the benefit of gender diversity. Some empirical studies discovered that gender equality could increase the profit of a company. With reference to that, Dr. Nurhayati and Hana A. Satriyo stated that businesswomen tend to use digital technology in the business field. Statistical data showed that there are approximately 74% of businesswomen within the UMKM sector in Indonesia that utilize computers, while only 60% of businessmen make use of it. On account of that, fintech is considered able to solve the limitation in access towards financial for businesswomen.

The panel discussion concluded that creative approach and “out-of-the-box” is important in an effort to improve the role of women in digital economy, including through the education sector to solve the stereotype that men have excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and support for more pro-women policies in the government and private sectors.

Indonesia is predicted to become the power of the digital economy by 2020. By 2025, the opportunity for digital economy in Indonesia will reach a value of USD 150 billion per year. The challenge for Indonesia is to reduce gender bias in digital use, especially in relation to women’s participation in fintech. In connection to that and in line with the development of the fintech industry in Southeast Asia since 2016, BI established the BI Fintech Office in November 2016 to encourage the growth of new innovations, especially those related to technology and the financial sector and help the government encourage financial inclusion.