Gender bias remains strong in the work place in Indonesia, despite companies’ best efforts to promote diversity and equality. In most companies, men still dominate at the executive level while women occupy lower-paying administrative ranks.
The Indonesian Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE), a coalition of companies that aims to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women in the workplace, wants to show that investing in women and promoting gender equality in the workplace is a smart economic move.
The Global Gender Gap report from the World Economic Forum 2016 shows a more than double wage gap between men and women in Indonesia. The average salary a man earns per year is equivalent to US$14,000 per year, compared to women’s at $6,000.
The problem doesn’t stop there. Women are often placed in a position where they have to choose between their career and family. In many cases, women tend to not take a higher position that is offered to them, because society is less supportive of women’s career. But domestic work is not women’s responsibility only. Men also have the same responsibility and obligation to be actively involved in child care and taking care of the household.
“Women’s participation in economic development in our country needs and has to be improved,” said Shinta W. Kamdani, IBCWE’s Chair of Executive Board and the CEO of Sintesa Group.
“We need more women leaders in companies, and IBCWE wants to contribute in this regard,” she added.
To highlight the issue of gender equality in the workplace, IBCWE conducted a talk show and discussion that featured CEOs and Directors on the panels on May 18, at Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Jakarta.
“We invited leaders from several major companies who are all men, because we believe that men have to support this issue,” said Shinta.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) data shows that the number of women workers in Indonesia is 38 percent out of 120 million workforce, while Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS) found that job ratio for men is 89.5 percent and women is only 32 percent.