Even after decades, there is a lot of
discriminations based on gender still happening in our society. The gender wage
gap is one of them. The gender wage gap is the average difference between wage
received by men and women. The main causes of gender wage gap is education
attainment, occupational segregation, sexual discrimination, maternity leave and
women tend to not negotiate for raises and promotions aggressively. The reason
why is that occurs in Indonesia most likely due to the cultural aspects that
According to Wage Indicator (2016), the
social assumption that men are the one whose earnings are the primary source of
support for their dependents, while women deal with housework and family, is
exceptionally solid in Indonesian society. As a result, when women are working,
their position is assumed to be merely that of an ‘extra’ provider. This patriarchy culture of
Indonesian society to support women not to work allegedly reflects the
contribution of Indonesian women in the labor market. As evidenced by reports
from the International Labor Organization, only about 50 to 55 percent of women
in Indonesia participate in the labor force. The wage paid to men is
bigger than the wage paid to women because he is expected to provide his wife
and children a decent life. While female laborers, even when married, are also
legally still considered single. The World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index (2016)
data shows Indonesia has a gender wage gap of 14.5%, meaning that on average Indonesian
women earn 14.5% less than men.
The gender wage gap is disadvantage for
women, it suppressing their income and making it even difficult to balance work
and family. Serious attempts to understand the gender wage gap should not
driven to the blame to women for not earning more. Instead, these attempts
should be to analyze in which sector our economy provides unequal opportunities
for women at every point of their education, training, and career choices.
Although in 2007 to 2013 Indonesia was
recorded by the World Bank as a country with a high minimum wage increase for
laborers, with average 13 percent increase per year in Southeast Asia, but
there is still a wage gap seen from a gender perspective. Women workers’ wage income
is always lower than men’s wages. If the wage of female laborers is only Rp.2.4
million, the wages for male laborers can reach Rp.2.9 million.
Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS)
recorded the average wage paid to female laborers in February 2017 was lower by
23 percent compared to the average wage male laborers earn.
The head of BPS, Suhariyanto (2017), said
that the female laborers’ wage is lower in almost all job sectors except electricity,
gas and water sector. The highest wage gap between male and female laborers
occurred in the agricultural sector which reached 41 percent, where the average
wage paid to men reach Rp.1.92 million while women’s wage is only Rp.1.13
This wage gap is thought to be due to
differences in working time, education, and discrimination. In addition, with
low salaries, women workers also often receive violence from employers, both
domestic and foreign workers.
The International Labor Organization (ILO)
regulates it in Convention no.100 on equal remuneration in 1951. This
Convention no.100 supports equal pay for men and women laborers for equal work.
In 1957, Indonesia has ratified the Convention no.100 of ILO to Law act no. 80
of 1957 on the Agreement of the International Labor Organization Convention no.
100 on Wages for Male and Female Workers for Equal Work.
The non-discriminatory prohibition
contained in the Indonesian Labour Law is based on Article 27 of the 1945
Constitution regarding the status of citizens without discrimination. While the
gender wage gap prohibition is regulated in the Government Regulation act no. 8
of 1981 regarding the wage protection, which affirms that there is no
discrimination in determining wages between male and female laborers for equal
Some of the special rights for female
laborers contained in Law act no. 13 of 2003 :
1. Article 81. Women who are on a period
and feeling sick (and then tell it to the employers), permitted to not to go to
work on the first and second day of menstruation.
2. Article 82 (1). Women entitled to get a
time to rest for one and a half months before giving birth and one and a half
months after it (according to the calculation by obstetrician or midwife).
3. Article 82 (2). Women who suffer from
miscarriage are entitled to get a rest for one and a half months or depends on
the reference given by obstetrician or midwife.
4. Article 83. Women entitled to get a
time to breastfeed their children if it should be done during worktime.
Despite the law stated above, there are still
employers or companies that violates these rules. Some employers are obedient
to the menstrual leave rights but they make it difficult for the female laborers
by require references from the local clinic (stating that the workers are
really on their menstrual periods) to get some time off work during
menstruation. Some others even do not even give any day off work, because they
said that it is reducing the companies’ productivity.
is also a case that violates the maternal leave rights, in a company, pregnant
women are considered to have resigned by the company, rather than being granted
a three-months leave. The company does not want to give wages to a fully
pregnant female worker, because it means a 9 months of paid leave, which is
disadvantage for the company. It is easy for the company to impose that kind of
policy because the contract work system and outsourcing has been legalized in
Indonesia. In this case, if there are female laborers who are pregnant, they
simply discontinued from their contract of work. Thus, the company will be
spared from its obligation to provide wages and maternal leave to female
workers, without being sued by the worker for violating the rights.