What the gender gap looks like for young people in Indonesia

The Gender Gap by Lin – Age 22

Lin was amazed to learn about married women who work. Before, she had assumed that marriage meant the end of a woman’s career. At least, that’s how it usually is in her community.

“Since I was a kid, my parents have taught me to be independent and, above all, to trust in God and education,” says Lin, 22, a college student in Indonesia.

Her family’s early support of her dreams, she says, is what laid the foundation for her outspoken stance on global gender issues.
The aspiring journalist has worked hard for years for extra income to supplement her own education, tutoring younger students and making handicrafts in her spare time. She’s also a blogger and is active on the community development program on her campus. Yet in spite of her success so far, she never thought seriously about global gender issues, including gender inequality in the workforce. Until a ChildFund workshop changed her perspective, she thought of women – including herself – as being naturally less qualified for certain jobs, naturally subordinate to men in matters outside the home.

“The training has taught me that women have equal rights to work,” she says. “If society denies women the right to work, they are violating women’s rights, stopping women from exploring opportunities and expressing themselves.”
On the flip side, she learned that making money shouldn’t be a man’s only job.
“I want society to understand that taking care of the children is not a role only for women, but that the father needs to participate too, and not always just as breadwinner,” she says. “A husband needs to know about his children’s development as well.
“Childbirth and breastfeeding are two things men can’t do. But men can support women on the rest.”Gender training is part of the curriculum for everyone who participates in the youth skills project – and that includes boys.

The Gender Gap by Rhadi – Age 23

Rhadi has always treated his friends of both sexes the same.
The idea that women exist only to be wives and mothers is “so old-fashioned,” he says.

“For me, gender equality is not a new idea, although this was my first time to have gender training. I was surprised that … many people have no idea about gender equality, and that there are so many gender biases around.”
As members of a more open-minded generation, both youth feel responsible for combating global gender issues.
“I want to change community perceptions about gender,” Iin says.
Since the training, promoting gender equality in Indonesia has taken on a new importance in her life.
“I know it will be hard, since the community’s stereotype is that women should stay at home and focus on domestic matters like cleaning and cooking. But that is all wrong,” she says
Riadi agrees: “All women and men should have equal rights and opportunities in their communities,” he says, “especially in education, careers, politics and social life.”