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Women in Indonesia

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Women in Indonesia

Women in Indonesia
A group of Indonesian women during the stage performance of a traditional dance.
Gender Inequality Index
Value 0.494 (2012)
Rank 106th
Maternal mortality (per 100,000) 220 (2010)
Women in parliament 18.2% (2012)
Females over 25 with secondary education 36.2% (2010)
Women in labour force 51.2% (2011)
Global Gender Gap Index[1]
Value 0.6613 (2013)
Rank 95th out of 136

The roles of Indonesian women today are being affected by many factors, including increased modernization, globalization, improved education and advances in technology. Many women in Indonesia choose to reside in cities instead of staying in townships to perform agricultural work because of personal, professional, and family-related necessities, and economic requirements. These women are moving away from the traditional dictates of women's issues and concerns.[2][3]

President Sukarno with leaders of the Indonesian Women's Congress in June 1950.


  • Health and welfare 1
  • Employment 2
  • Sexual harassment and women-only transport 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7

Health and welfare

Many pregnant women in Indonesia do not have the financial capability to pay for hospital deliveries and birthing by Caesarian section, because of disproportionate salaries and medical expenses. Thus, these women require the support and assistance of "birth sanctuaries" that provide "free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid", such as the Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth Foundation) health clinics established by Robin Lim, an American midwife, in 2003. Such 24-hour nativity havens, mostly located in Bali and Aceh, help Indonesian women to escape the common practice of private hospitals in Indonesia that entails detaining newborn infants until medical bills are fully remunerated by the birth mothers.[4]

Nonetheless, the economy now seems to be improving (high GDP growth in 2012 as high as 6.2%)[5] and some programs had been done by the government to help promote the health and welfare of women and child. A ministry that especially concerns in the field had been established for a long time since the regime of the late President Soeharto on Orde Baru.[6]


After a surge of foreign multinational investors began investing in Indonesia during the 1970s, many Indonesian women became the "prime workforce" and a source of cheap laborers in manufacturing businesses.[3] In the 1990s, some women in Indonesia, including adolescents and the homeless, resorted to engage in employment as sex workers and housemaids due to financial hardship. Some of the women who were forced into such work opted to go abroad, into countries such as Saudi Arabia and Thailand. Some have since become victims of torture, sexual abuse, murder, illegal detention, rape, sodomy, and other forms of sexual assault. Health-wise, as a consequence of becoming prostituted by human traffickers, some have contracted HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.[7]

Indonesia was one of the few nations in the world to elect a female president, Megawati Sukarnoputri. In 2012, 18% of National Parliamentary representatives were held by women.[8] Ratu Atut Chosiyah is one example of the rising numbers of female leaders throughout Indonesia. More and more women are becoming scholars, as in schools proven that female students in the recent years excels more than their male competitors. The ratio of girls to boys in primary and secondary schools is also even as of 2013.[9]

More scholarships awarded by the Indonesian government (and some other institutions other than the government) were given to women, and resulted in higher achievement in their later life. In most major cities like Jakarta and Surabaya, the educated female workforce tends to postpone the marital age and girls who finish secondary school are six times less likely to marry early.[10]

Indonesian women could be making considerable shifts to national employment - women currently hold 33% of non-agricultural employment as they also work in the prestigious and traditionally male-dominated field such as architecture, medicine, and engineering.[11] Despite for infamously known for the blue collar low-waged workers in the neighbouring countries, most of Indonesian females work as professionals abroad.

Sexual harassment and women-only transport

An Indonesian railway company, PT Kereta Api, introduced women-only carriages on some KRL Jabotabek commuter trains in the Jakarta metropolitan area from August 2010 in response to many reports of sexual harassment in public places, including commuter trains and buses. [12]

The women-only carriages on commuter trains are usually denoted by large pink or purple stickers, which read "Kereta Khusus Wanita", and are located at each end of the train. This kind of carriage was previously only able to be found on air-conditioned EMUs, but a number of recently repaired non-air conditioned EMUs have also been equipped with the women-only carriage stickers.

Recently, PT Kereta Api launched a special women-only train (the train itself uses an ex-Tokyo Metro 6000 series EMU, set number 6107F), which intended as further protection for women passengers from sexual harassments. To give difference from standard EMUs (which only provides women-only carriages on each end of the train), the women-only train had all of its cars decorated with large "Kereta Khusus Wanita" stickers colored purple or pink. Since October 1, 2012, PT Kereta Api Indonesia (Persero) Commuter Jabodetabek launch the women-only trains. All of the coach of this train is only for women and men don't enter this trains. [13]

See also



  1. ^ "The Global Gender Gap Report 2013". World Economic Forum. pp. 12–13. 
  2. ^ Ingham, Xylia (2005). "Career Women in Indonesia: Obstacles Faced, and Prospects for Change". Australian Consortium for 'In-Country' Indonesian Studies. Retrieved 6 May 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Ahmad, Abdul Razak (29 December 1998). "Redefining the role of women in Indonesia".  
  4. ^ Ruffins, Ebonne (10 March 2011). "CNN Heroes: 'Mother Robin' delivers for poor women in Indonesia".  
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Indonesia". Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. Retrieved 6 May 2011. 
  8. ^ Bachelet, Michelle. "Women are integral part of Indonesian success". UN Women. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Ratio of girls to boys in primary and secondary education (%)". The World Bank. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  10. ^ Bachelet, Michelle. "Women are integral part of Indonesian success". UN Women. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Share of women employed in the nonagricultural sector (% of total nonagricultural employment)". The World Bank. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Indonesia Railway Company Launches Women-Only Carriages
  13. ^ First Operation of Women-Only Train in Indonesia

Further reading

  • Poverty Reduction and Social Development Division. Poverty and Social Development Paper No. 1. Sociolegal Status of Women in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand. Asian Development Bank.
  • Robinson, Kathryn May and Bessell, Sharon. Women in Indonesia: Gender, Equity and Development. Indonesia Assessment Series. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (2002). 284 pages.
  • 2 men, 2 women caned in Indonesia for sex offenses. The Jakarta Post. May 5, 2011.

External links

  • Indonesia Women's Studies Bibliography
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