ISD Participates in the ‘Talking ASEAN: Women and the World of Work’

Jakarta, March 30 2017. The theme for 2017’s International Women’s Day is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.” The evolution of the world of work has presented significant challenges and opportunities for women. Globalization and technological innovations have changed the way economic activities are conducted and in return offering new ways for women to participate. However, challenges remain as the informalization of labor, unstable income, and the liberalization of national economies have put women at a disadvantageous position due to the gendered nature of the labor market as well as social norms that have constrained women’s participation based on the constructed traditional gender roles.

“Women’s roles in personal and professional aspects are always rooted in the cultural expectation,” said Rahimah Abdulrahim, Executive Director of The Habibie Center, in the opening session.

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), which came into effect in December 2015, sets an ambitious target to build ASEAN into a single market and production base, allowing the free movement of goods, capital, skilled labor, services and investment across the ten ASEAN Member States. However, the position of women within the AEC has received little attention in the region. In Southeast Asia, women’s participation in the economy is persistently lower across all ASEAN countries and mainly concentrated in the agriculture, garment,tourism, and care-service sectors. The majority of women in these sectors are employed in vulnerable jobs, usually at the bottom-end of the supply chain or in informal care work, with almost complete absence of access to benefits and social protection because they perform short-term, contractual work.

The problem of gender wage gap also persists. According to ILO data, women in Southeast Asia will continue to earn 20 percent less than men in 2025. Whilst women have contributed substantially to economic development through large amounts of unpaid care work, such as household tasks and child rearing, their contribution remains invisible and unaccounted as an important element of national welfare.

THC 30 Maret

For these reasons, ISD continues its active participation to support the productive dialogue of Talking ASEAN: Women and the World of Work – Achieving Gender Equality through the ASEAN Economic Community. The event features four prominent speakers, who on their daily basis revolve around business and research-related activities to promote gender equality in their own field of work. They are Nunki Juniarti (Representative Committee for International Relations Department, KOWANI), Khariroh Ali (Commissioner, Kompas Perempuan), Sita Aripurnami (Executive Director, Women’s Research Institute), and Maria Theodora Kurniawati (Chief Administration Officer, PT Trakindo Utama, ISD Founder).

“It is important for women to at least help promoting women to higher positions in work forces. My experiences have taught me that having mentors in various areas of life is a quick win for women to grow themselves up,” said Maria Theodora Kurniawati in the discussion session.

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