Like in many other countries around the globe, Indonesian women often find themselves in a more difficult position than men. For example, there are much more women than men who work in Indonesia's informal sector. Moreover, a significant portion of these women are unpaid workers. While 57.51 percent of Indonesia's total female workforce is employed in the informal sector, the rate is 48.81 percent for men.
Being employed in the informal sector entails risks as informal sector workers typically have lower - and unstable - incomes, and lack access to basic protection and services. Meanwhile, money flows in the informal sector are not taxed and informal activities cannot be included in the country's GNP or GDP calculations.
But not only do women have a bigger chance to fall into the informal sector, they also have to face injustice in the form of the men-women wage gap, meaning that women usually get paid less than men for the same work.
Based on recent research of the International Labour Organization (ILO), conducted through its Better Work Indonesia program, the clothing (or garment) industry of Indonesia is among the worst cases in terms of wage gap in the country's manufacturing sector. On average, informal female workers in Indonesia's garment industry earn 20 percent less than their male counterparts for the same work and with the same (low) educational background.
Meanwhile, the ILO report states that 80 percent of workers in 200 garment factories spread across Indonesia are women aged between 15-35 years, with the majority only having completed (Senior) High School (in Indonesian: Sekolah Menengah Atas, or SMA).
Albert Bonasahat, team-member for the Better Work Indonesia program, said Indonesia's garment companies still regard women as workers that can be paid less, while their obedience (to the boss) is stronger. However, Bonasahat said this is a wrong stereotype. Meanwhile, he added that the wage gap should actually not occur anymore as the Indonesian government already ratified ILO Convention No. 111 concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation. Hence, gender discrimination is an illegal in Indonesia. But, problematically, law enforcement in Indonesia is weak.
Violence Against Women in Indonesia
The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) urged the Indonesian government to increase efforts to protect women's rights across the country, particularly by enacting the long-overdue bill on the elimination of sexual violence.
The annual report of Komnas Perempuan stated that there were 348,446 cases of violence against women in full-year 2017, up 25 percent year-on-year. Most of these cases involve incest and cyber-violence (which is online harassment or the spread of private content on social media or pornographic websites). When divided by type of violence, 41 percent of the cases involved physical abuse, 31 percent sexual abuse, 15 percent psychological abuse, and 13 percent economic abuse.
However, the rise in cases of violence against women last year not necessarily means that violence against women is rising in Indonesia. Mariana Amiruddin, Komnas Perempuan Commissioner, said the increase is attributed to the fact that more and more victims dare to report the violence. Still, it is feared that many violent cases remain unreported across Indonesia as victims are afraid of repercussions. The report also noted that 71 percent of reported cases of violence took place in a private or domestic setting.
Komnas Perempuan emphasized that existing local laws in Indonesia do not cover all types of violence against women, hence resulting in a legal vacuum and powerless victims. Therefore, the bill on the elimination of sexual violence needs to be passed quickly.