Study: Women Still Lack Equality in Employment
Women workers in Indonesia continue to face significant cultural, social, economic and religious barriers to equal treatment in employment, joint research by the International Labor Organization and Tufts University has found.
The research, which was revealed in a workshop at Jakarta’s Sari Pan Pacific Hotel on Wednesday, found that the average Indonesian woman worker earned roughly 79 percent of the hourly wage her male colleagues got for the same job.
The study also found that men had better experiences in the workplace, with fewer reports of harassment and more opportunities for promotion and bonuses.
The research questioned 1,000 male and female participants in North Sumatra and East Java.
Drusilla Brown, a professor at Tufts University, said that Indonesian men were more likely than their female counterparts to be employed and receive social security benefits.
“As various other studies had found, men were also more likely to receive better treatment in the workplace and were promoted more often,” Brown said.
In searching for the forces behind such discrepancies, Brown and her team constructed a series of questions to find out people’s perceptions of gender roles.
Brown concluded that Indonesia suffered from essentialism and benevolent sexism. “Essentialism sexism is a belief that gender is a fixed and stable trait, which has distinct boundaries and is unchangeable, whereas benevolent sexism is a belief that women are purer than men, weak and delicate and therefore must be protected by men,” she explained.
Brown also pointed out that both men and women in Indonesia share similar levels of benevolent sexist beliefs.
The workshop, called “Promoting Women’s Access to Decent Work and Equality in Employment in Indonesia,” was implemented under an AusAID program, aimed at the economic and social empowerment of Indonesian women.
Peter van Rooij, Indonesia country director of the ILO, said he hoped the workshop would provide a forum for dialogue to develop necessary steps that address the core problems of women workers.
“Experience has shown that women’s empowerment is central to the success of the development at the country level, including Indonesia. The economic and social empowerment of women is a highly important objective and is essential for the achievement of sustainable human development,” Van Rooij said in a statement.