Gender Equality

Indonesian Government Apps Face Backlash for Sexist Names, President Orders Halt to New Apps

Main image to the post Indonesian Government Apps Face Backlash for Sexist Names, President Orders Halt to New Apps

Government Apps in Indonesia Face Criticism for Sexist and Suggestive Names

Several government apps and programs in Indonesia have come under fire for having sexist and sexually suggestive names. This has led to strong public criticism and calls for changes to be made.

One of the most controversial apps is "Sipepek," a social platform application managed by the authorities in Cirebon Regency. The name is an acronym for the Indonesian name of the regency's Social Welfare Service Administration Information System. While the authorities claim the name signifies a "one-stop shop" for comprehensive public services, the term "pepek" has another meaning in the Indonesian common dictionary, referring to female genitals. This has led to negative reactions and misunderstandings among the public.

Other apps and programs with peculiar names include "Sithole," an online consultation information system managed by the Semarang District Court, and "Siska Ku Intip," a program that integrates palm oil plantations with cattle farming. The latter, which translates colloquially to "I take a peek at Siska," was deemed sexist by netizens, with "Siska" presumed to be a female name.

Critics argue that the names of these apps and programs are often derived from creative abbreviations or acronyms, but they tend to be easily misinterpreted as offensive or inappropriate. They call for immediate changes to these app names and urge the public to report any programs or digital platforms with inappropriate names.

The National Commission on Violence Against Women has also spoken up about the issue, emphasizing that terms with the right tone should be chosen, avoiding those that objectify the body or connote the appearance of the body or gender.

President Joko Widodo has ordered government officials to cease the development of new mobile applications, aiming to reduce bureaucratic complexity. This directive is part of the INA Digital initiative, which seeks to integrate the systems and data of existing applications operated by various ministries and regional administrations. The integration could help the government economize and save money.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09