Question and Answer; The Dilemmas Faced by Women When Entering Public Roles

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Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS) conducted research on the participation of the workforce in women's working groups as of February 2020. The finding revealed that the female workforce has decreased from 55.6 percent to 54.6 percent. These numbers are in contrast  to the male workforce participation, which is still much higher with the rate increasing from about 82 percent to  83 percent.

These data infer that women still face many challenges in the world of work, one of which is gender inequality. Women are often restricted by stereotypes or gender bias towards the fulfillment of rights, opportunities and fair treatment by companies.

Meanwhile, according to various studies in Indonesia and around the world, there are many benefits for companies who support gender equality in the workplace, including an increase in income, diverse point of view, a wider talent pool and also  reduction in recruitment costs.

Those various dilemmas faced by women have been discussed by the Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE) together with the Australian Embassy, Investing in Women, the Indonesian Ministry of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection and NOVA, in a webinar entitled “No More Dilemma for Working Women”.

A playback of the webinar can be watched on the following IBCWE Youtube channel; No More Dilemma for Working Women

It turns out that the dilemmas faced by women when entering public roles are numerous. It can be seen by the number of questions received during the webinar session. Here we summarize some of these questions along with the responses:


Q: How to respond or encounter if one day our husband can't accept us to become a career woman, even though we want to help the family financially and improve the quality of being a mother by joining the workforce.

A: We recommend that prior to your marriage, you have a discussion with your future husband about your career opportunities after marriage. However, if you are already married, you can still start a discussion with the topic of household financial needs and goals and how to achieve it, including the opportunity for you to join the workforce to get additional income for the family.


Q: Are there any opportunities for married women with children to enter the workforce? Is there any trust for a woman who is already a mother to join the company?

A: There is always an opportunity for married women with children to enter the workforce, as long as the women still have the skills, knowledge, and experience that the company needs. Now, what you need to do is to find ways to develop yourself so that you have relevant skill sets to become the talent that the Company is looking for.


Q: How do you grow a woman's self-confidence to start and strive to be superior in a job in her preferred field, because we all know that there are some women who have self-confidence crises even though they have potential?

A: Never get tired of learning and improving your skills. Start with the small things. If you have gone through small victories, your self-confidence will start to build up and do not forget to get support from family and closest relatives to push you forward.


Q: Is it true that maternity and marriage leave will be abolished?

A: Law 13/2003 stipulates the right to maternity leave in article 82 and marriage leave in article 93. Both articles have not been amended or deleted in the Omnibu Law, so these provisions are still valid.


Q: When a woman  takes maternity leave for 3 (three) months and still gets a salary at the same time as the company does not have a policy to pay temporary employees for 3 (three) months, indirectly the workload will be delegated to her fellow and he/she does not get double income for the work which is 2 (two) times much. Is this fair? Is this also made some companies consider hiring male employees over female employees?

A: Even though a woman  takes maternity leave, it does not mean that the woman does not have a contribution to the company. A woman's value cannot be reduced just because she is about to become pregnant and give birth, but it must be seen from the value of her contributions to the company. Besides that pregnancy and childbirth are basic rights / human rights of a woman, the state protects it by making clear rules for maternity leave in the labor law. Besides that, the state has also ratified CEDAW to protect discrimination against women.

CEDAW (The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) is an International Agreement for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. This Convention defines the principles of women's rights as human rights, norms and standards of obligations, and the responsibility of the state in eliminating discrimination against women.


Q: How are the concrete steps to educate women workers about their rights as women workers in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and the current global economic recession?

A: Companies can continue to educate by distributing related information via email or webinars / online town hall meetings so that women workers are updated on their rights.


Q: What do you think about the company regulations that give birthing claims until 2 (two) children and wife for male workers while for female workers who do not receive that?

A: With regard to health benefits, in accordance with laws and regulations, companies are required to register their workers at BPJS Kesehatan. BPJS Kesehatan covers the cost of childbirth for women. Apart from the BPJS, the medical benefits provided by the company are based on the company's financial ability.


Q: Learning from the experience in implementing policies and program innovations to support a gender inclusive workplace, what are the “low hanging fruits” that companies / organizations can do as an initial step to support a gender inclusive workplace? And what are some tips to support and promote the idea of “male champions of change” like Mr. Erik so that men can also go on board to support a gender inclusive workplace?

A: As a start, the company can start by educating the Management level regarding the importance of gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace. After receiving acceptance and willingness to actively support and participate from Management, this information can be communicated to other employees. Management's commitment also needs to be reaffirmed by making policies that promote a gender equality workplace culture, such as providing equal wages between women and men workers, providing equal promotion opportunities for women and men, having equal job opportunities for women and men, etc.

To promote the idea of 'male champions of change', apart from  above tips, it is also possible to use a one-on-one approach and discuss with each of them how a gender inclusive culture can impact the organization and society at large in the future.


Q: Diversity, equality and inclusiveness are some of the important values that IBCWE promotes, what are the realistic actions and approaches that we can practice at a personal and professional level to make this happen?

A: At a personal level, that is always having empathy for others, trusting each other at work, helping each other, providing support and not discriminating.

At the professional level, that is by helping and supporting the corporate culture to have the values of diversity, equality and inclusiveness, for example by respecting different opinions, understanding that our colleagues have other responsibilities outside of work (i.e. family responsibilities), and giving trust to colleagues / teams that they can do / complete their respective portions of work.


Q: What is the strategy of Telkomtelstra to promote a decent workplace for men and women in the company?

A: As a company engaged in the technology sector that is still dominated by men, Telkomtelstra has a mission to provide equal opportunities to men and women in the workplace.

Several programs have been carried out to support this mission, one of which is to become a signatory for WEPs and conduct an assessment in order to find out the weaknesses and potential of the company to compile or improve the programs.

Telkomtelstra has been a member of IBCWE since 2019 and has participated in the GEARS (Gender Equality Analysis Report Strategies) assessment.

Beyond that, we also carry out initiatives to ensure diversity, design and implement company policies that provide equal opportunities for both men and women to develop careers, and ensure commitments related to equality and diversity must come from various directions, especially from company leaders.


Q: For the Youth Take Over program, is it considered effective? Because it is impossible to change positions temporarily/experimentally without any experience and knowledge that matches the knowledge / experience of the substitute. 

A: Of course, the Youth Take Over Program is intended to open up opportunities for millennial employees to try management roles, besides this Youth Take Over program can also provide direct experience for young employees in learning leadership. Through this program we can also see and develop their abilities. This must also be supported by management by always actively ensuring that employees have equal opportunities.