Attending MCWE G20, Minister of Finance: Indonesian Government Strives to Close Gender Gap

Bali (24/08) – Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia Sri Mulyani stated that the Government is striving to close the gender gap through various policies targeted at women and girls, one of which is through the ultra-micro credit for entrepreneurs as the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a scarring effect on labor market, including for women.

“Scarring effect will be a significant obstacle to achieve a strong, sustainable, equal and inclusive growth, especially for developing countries. High rate of informal employment also poses the biggest challenge for Indonesia,” said Sri at the Ministerial Conference on Women’s Empowerment (MCWE), which was held in a hybrid format, Wednesday (24/8).

Sri explained that according to data from the Central Statistics Agency, workers in the informal sector in Indonesia has increased from 55.8 per cent in 2019 to 60.5 per cent in 2020. “This has caused various economic problems and affected Indonesia’s tax revenues,” Sri added.

In addition, informal workers are generally considered vulnerable when it comes to social protection. “In Indonesia, women are more associated with informal jobs. As many as

63.8 per cent of Indonesian women have been working in the informal sector, compared to only 56.6 per cent of men in the same sector,” said Sri.

In addition, the female labor force participation rate is also still lagging behind that of men, which is 51.9 per cent compared to 83.3 per cent. “If we look at this gap, new opportunities will be lost and it will be one of the factors affected economic growth and better jobs for women,” said Sri.

Sri added that the Covid-19 pandemic has also caused other problems related to the gender gap, as the pandemic poses a greater impact on women. “During the economic crisis, the female workforce has disproportionately affected, especially for women working in the informal sector. Women have been facing additional burdens from having to work at home, especially due to the traditional gender norms of taking care the family,” said Sri.

At the Conference, President of the National Institute for Women Mexico, Nadine Flora Gasman Zylberman, appreciated the efforts of the Indonesian G20 Presidency in promoting gender equality and women’s rights. In the discussion, Nadine revealed that Mexican women also have to engage in care works more often than men, which is about 39 hours per week, compared to about 14 hours per week for men. “We have to recognize that care works have economic value to be able to provide greater equality,” said Nadine.

Senior Specialist on Gender, Equality, and Non-Discrimination at International Labor Organization (ILO) Joni Simpson revealed four policies messages to overcome gender gap, namely (1) public investments in universal childcare and long-term care generate decent jobs, supports the economy, enables women to stay in the labor force, promotes health and well- being and is gender transformative; (2) care leave policies and care services are required; (3) family-friendly policies and flexible working arrangements will support the evolving needs of workers with family responsibilities; and (4) Decent work and representation of care workers generates a virtuous cycle for quality services and upholds fundamental labor rights for care beneficiaries.

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