Feminization of poverty is one of the crucial problems at the global
level which has long been a source of considerable suffering for
women in developing countries like Indonesia.
But tragically, the feminization of poverty is often undetected by
development policymakers in this country because women who become
its only victims, especially those with low education or even
illiteracy, struggle to survive by cultivating marginal income
efforts that are also undetectable, such as scavengers, beggars,
casual laborers, and other menial and minor jobs that are not listed
in development statistics.
As a result, development policymakers neglect to accommodate the
feminization of poverty issues in development planning so this
problem becomes increasingly severe, complex, chronic, and abstract.
A series of research conducted by Veganindo Anti-Poverty activists
since 2016 found at least three main factors behind the widespread
feminization of poverty in Indonesia, namely:
• Compared to men, women’s bargaining position at the domestic level
is still very weak. At the same time, the social responsibility
imposed on them by the cultural system is far heavier than the
burden borne by men. Women as housewives, for example, have never
been involved in decision making at the domestic level. All public
and domestic decisions are dominated by men. On the contrary, most
tasks and responsibilities at the domestic level are in the hands of
women. The power of a husband is far greater than the power of a
wife. It is easier for a husband to divorce his wife than vice
versa. And if there is a divorce, most of the domestic
responsibilities – primarily raising children – must be carried by
women. A widower is much easier to make a living than a widow
because widows are very limited by many cultural norms that do not
apply to widowers. As a result, widows are far more vulnerable to
poverty than widowers. All of this triggers increasingly severe
gender inequality and gender injustice which further corners the
position of women.
• Meanwhile, the prices of foodstuffs in all corners of the country
continue to soar from year to year and are increasingly far beyond
the purchasing power of the poor, especially by needy women as
breadwinners in their families. As a result, these women are forced
to meet the food needs of their family members by buying food
ingredients as cheap as possible even though the quality is very low
and unfit for consumption. This triggers a high rate of morbidity
among these poor women and all members of their families without
their ability to cope.
• Feminization of poverty also makes the needy women unable to buy
animal meat whose prices are skyrocketing. In order to meet the
needs of side dishes in their families, they are forced to eat very
low-priced animal waste products such as intestines, skins, blood
clots, tongues, and so on. This triggers a high prevalence of
various deadly diseases among the needy women’s households,
especially coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke,
The three problems described above severely hamper women who are
trapped in the feminization of poverty along with all their family
members to be free from the shackles of poverty.
Based on a careful study, the founders of Veganindo Anti Poverty
believe that veganism is one of the most effective, efficient and
environmentally friendly solutions in order to free these helpless
women from the snares of feminization of poverty. Most importantly
because by being vegan, everyone’s eating costs are very low.
In addition, the veganism diet is proven to be able to improve the
health status and life expectancy of its adherents.
The carbon footprint is also very minimal. Veganism is truly
Therefore, since its inception in 2016 until now Veganindo Anti
Poverty has been actively researching and developing veganism models
that can help women who are trapped in the feminization of poverty
to get rid of poverty and its morbidity consequences.
One of these models is what we call an independent vegan
lifestyle. In this context, we motivate and facilitate needy
women to become independent vegans who managed organic farms by
growing their own food crops and herbal crops they need everyday.
Thanks to this, they are eventually freed from poverty that used to
trap them for a long time.
Indeed, the needy women who live in rural areas, urban slums, and
especially in coastal areas should be impossible to farm because
they do not have land even if only an inch.
Fortunately, the founders of Veganindo Anti Poverty have long been
forging strategic partnerships with another NGO called Komunitas
Penadbiran Sampah (Waste Governance Community) or KPS.
Coincidentally, the founders and managers of KPS are adherents of
environmental veganism as well.
Based on the knowledge and experience from KPS, Veganindo Anti
Poverty managed to develop a model of landless organic farming for
landless poor people, namely by planting various food crops and
herbal crops organically in pots upcycled from waste plastic bottles
and bags. Thanks to this program, we have very efficiently and
effectively succeeded in freeing a number of women from the shackles
of poverty and morbidity while helping to protect natural
ecosystems, mainly rivers and oceans, from the siege of plastic