Living and Working as a Woman in Asia

This essay has been submitted for an international conference, hopefully it will be held in 2013

In Asia, especially in Indonesia my country, the gender and feminist issue become more crucial day by day. Gender equality is a condition that put men and women hold an equal position in rights (law) and condition (the quality of life). In Asia, especially in Indonesia, there are lots of issues about gender equality, but then the question has raised, what kind of gender equality that could be a parameter for women in Asia?

As a woman, gender issue is really important for me. I work as a lecturer and women activist, and at my age, I have lots of experiences in facing this life, and sometimes it’s hard. However now, everything seems under control, but one day I know that I need such protection regarding to my career. Choosing a career as a woman activist also has some risks. Because some groups which are dislikes with gender issue could confront and against my effort. Gender is a differentiation in role, attribute, traits, personality and attitude that grows in society. And the role of gender can be classified as productive role, reproductive role and role in society.

Hence, not only protection that need by women. Women also need a ‘secure’ feeling. In this case, secure feeling means, whether men and women have the same rights and duties in law (equality before the law). It indicates that men and women should have the equality in their working sphere, salaries, and facilities in a company. The way I feel in Indonesia and Asia, I realize that women never get the same opportunities with men; however in the real condition women have the same responsibilities with men.

In general, women labeled as the calm human creature on earth, and they do not have capabilities in doing ‘hard’ activities. But in fact, women could do the ‘hard’ activities, just like men did. For example, in Bali women have job as carpenter, and men are busy with their hobbies, gambling. From this condition, we may conclude that women hold men’s role, but they get less salary if we compared to men. It seems unfair for women.

The regulations do not on women side. There are still lots of legal products that established by men without concerning the women’s role. Gender gap also become a major problem nowadays, in accessing, utilizing, participating in development and in controlling resources women have lack of chances. The level of violence to women also increased, it’s actually quite contradictive with the condition, because some women hold special position in political, public position in development and construction. These aspects discriminated women. And based on this contra-condition, gender equality issue grows day by day.

In contrast, is gender equality can put women in a same position with men? Of course, it can. But in what equality? From three gender roles, we may conclude; productive role, reproductive role, and role in society help women in their life. Moreover, the reproductive role is the highest portion of women. Women give birth and take care of the children; women hold the entire role, not only as mother, but also as father. Women are earning money, but also cuddling their children. Women also cook, and do all the household chores and sometimes without her husband besides her.

It is not easy to be a woman. They have multiple roles, and it needs to be supported by a spirit to have a better life. It’s not only about financial, but more than that. It’s about having a warmth relationship with their family and their environment. The most precious thing is their relation with God. God has created men and women based on their natural roles. And God does agree with gender equality. So, it will be very wise if women could define their role without ignoring their faith.

I, as a young woman who has multiple roles, feel proud and keep on struggling to make a better life for myself and my surrounding. By having a good life and spread all the good things, I believe I can share awareness to other women, not only in my region, but also in Asia. And yes, someday, all this dreams will be reality.

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