Dr. Ratih Puspa: Gender inequality issue in urban and rural areas

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Dr. Ratih Puspa, S. Sos., M.A presentation in presence of 23 INDIAIR participants on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 in the Plenary Room of Management Building, Campus C UNAIR. (Photo: Rissa Ayu F)

UNAIR NEWS – Airlangga Global Engagement started Indonesian Diversity at Airlangga (INDIAIR) 2020 program which lasts for two weeks on Monday, January 13, 2020 in Surabaya and Yogyakarta. The program was attended by 23 participants from Japan, Taiwan and China. One of the agendas was discussing “Gender Diversity Issues in Indonesia” on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 in the Plenary Room of Management Building, Campus C UNAIR.

“The issue of diversity in Indonesia is divided into several fields, the education system, the family, employment, law and politics, health and welfare, and the issue of LGBTQ,” said Dr. Ratih Puspa, S. Sos., MA as the speaker.

Dr. Ratih revealed that education in Indonesia is still considered exclusive for people from lower classes, especially for women in some remote areas of Indonesia. Ratih said that in big cities, women who have higher education tend to have more freedom with their careers, while women who live in villages tend to be forced to get married soon because of economic demands.

“There is a wide gap between education for women in big cities and in villages. Some of the problems with education in Indonesia are the high cost of education, therefore most villagers cannot continue their education to university, ” she said.

As a solution, the Indonesian government has provided various scholarships so the grassroot community can get education. Moreover, the government also allocates students from remote areas as the priority of scholarship recipients. Family plays an important role in determining an individual’s future decisions, the priority for marriage is determined by how the environment and culture assess a marriage bond.

“Women in Indonesia often cannot decide to divorce their husbands despite living in unhappy conditions in the family. This is closely related to a wife’s financial dependence on her husband. Even men have such a dominant role in the family, “added Dr. Ratih.

When talking about gender issues, she continued, we must look at the context because in Indonesia there are two settings, villages and cities which have very different approaches. Gender identity is still a taboo subject to be discussed in Indonesia. She believed it will be very difficult for Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) to express differences in sexual orientation because family and social environment press them to make adjustments to general conditions.

“The problem of women in the professional world occurs among lower class female workers. Some jobs like doctors or lecturers like me do not have gaps, female and male coworkers get the same salary. But it is not the case for factory workers or domestic servants in lower classes of society. They still think that men have more responsibility to support the family, so they must have a bigger salary, ” she added.

Concern on health issues in Indonesia is still very low, in remote areas, high maternal mortality rate is one important indicator. Besides, sex education in Indonesia has not been implemented.

“I hope sex education can be included in the learning curriculum in schools throughout Indonesia, because we know that it will be very important for the younger generation. In order to get good, correct, and scientific knowledge about sex because the effects in the future will be very dangerous if it is left unchecked considering the number of sexually transmitted diseases, ” she concluded.

Author: Rissa Ayu F

Editor: Khefti Al Mawalia

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