Gender and Land Rights Database


In 2007, the estimated population was 224 670 000, of which 50 percent were women (1). In 2007, 49.5 percent of the population lived in rural areas (1). Women accounted for 49.5 percent of the rural population in 2005 (2). The country consists of 17 508 islands, of which some 6 000 are inhabited (4). The population density in 2005 was estimated at 115 persons per square kilometre (3). The country is multi-ethic and comprises 300 local language groups (4). The Javanese are the main ethnic group accounting for 40.6 percent of the population; other ethnic groups include the Sundanese at 15 percent, the Madurese at 3.3 percent and the Minangkabau at 2.7 percent (5). 86 percent of the population is Muslim (5).

In 2007, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was USD 432.8 billion; the per capita GDP was USD 1 918, with an annual average growth of 2.3 percent in 1990-2007 (6). In 2008, agriculture accounted for 14.4 percent of the GDP, industry accounted for 48.1 percent and services accounted for 37.5 percent (5). Agriculture still remains the major employer absorbing 42.1 percent of the workforce in 2006 (5). The main agricultural products include rice, cassava, peanuts, rubber, cocoa, coffee and palm oil (5).

With a Human Development Index (HDI) of 0.729 in 2006, the country ranks 111th out of 182 countries (6). In 2002, 7.5 percent of the population lived under the USD 1 a day poverty line, while 52.4 percent lived below the USD 2 a day poverty line (7). The most vulnerable areas are the remote eastern islands, where 95 percent of people in rural communities are landless or near landless farmers (8). In 2004, 17 percent of the population was undernourished (9). Life expectancy at birth 2007 was estimated at 72.5 years for women and 68.5 years for men (6). Literacy rates were estimated at 86.8 percent for women and 94 percent for men in 2004 (5).

In 2007, women accounted for 37 percent of the economically active population (1). Of the total number of economically active women, 46 percent were engaged in agriculture, accounting for 39 percent of the agricultural labour force (1). Women’s labour force participation in agriculture is higher among rural women reaching 61 percent in 2004 (8). In rice production women provide 75 percent of the farm labour. 20 percent of the household income and 40 percent of domestic food supplies are provided through kitchen gardens managed by women. Since most rural households control small amounts of land or have no land at all, an increasing number of rural women seek to supplement household income with wage labour, non-farm and off-farm income generating activities in small enterprises, home gardens and small agricultural plots (10).

The total land area is 1 811.5 thousand square kilometre. Arable land makes up 11.3 percent of the land area. Irrigated land represents 2.5 percent of the land area (5).

The Basic Agrarian Act No. 5 of 1960 is the foundation of modern land law. The Act introduced a system of control and regulation over all aspects of land and land-use activities. It also revoked all the old land registration and titling laws and regulations, eliminating the dual, Western and adat, system of land law. Adat customary norms and customary land tenure systems are recognized, unless they conflict with national and state interests. The law also sets ceilings on landownership and defines priorities in distribution (12). Under the Land Administration Project (LAP), which was introduced to accelerate the recognition of people’s rights to land and to further the changes in land administration (13), the National Land Agency began systematic registration in 1994. As of 2000, the Land Agency had registered 1.9 million parcels, or an estimated 3 percent of all parcels (14). Thirty percent of title certificates had been issued in women’s names and 65 percent in men’s names as of 1998, while less than 5 percent has been issued with the names of both spouses (8).

Sources: numbers in brackets (*) refer to sources displayed in the Bibliography