DAY CARE: CHARTING THE COURSE FOR GENDER EQUALITY IN BUSINESS
By Setyawati Fitrianggraeni, Muhammad Soufi Cahya Gemilang, Sri Purnama
Gender equality has been at the forefront of the global business agenda. Meaningful participation of women and other gender minorities in the workforce that once had only been recognized as a social justice niche was considered necessary for business profitability and good governance. According to a report by the National Statistics Agency, women constitute 14% out of 135 million workers in the formal sector.[i] Delivering better policies for more than 18 million workers will be beneficial to enhance productivity which will increase profit for businesses and tax revenue for the public sector.
However, the statistical outlooks on this trend have not shown great progress. According to the Global Gender Gap Report of 2022, gender parity in the workforce in 2022 stands at 62.9%, the lowest registered level since the development of the gender parity in labor index by the report.[ii] In Indonesia, the level of female workforce participation has even stagnated. A report by the World Bank indicated that female workforce participation in Indonesia is 54% compared to 85% of males.[iii] More than creating a 30-percentage point gender gap, the report also showed that this condition had remained relatively stagnant in the last 20 years.
One of the most popularly attributed reasons for the lack of progress in gender equality in business is the double burden. Also coined the second shift by sociologist Arlie Hochschild, the term refers to the amount of domestic work a female worker needs to undertake besides the formal job.[iv][v] This is due to domestic and care work being primarily associated exclusively with female labor. An ILO report showed that double burden reduced women’s time and resources, affecting their productivity.[vi]
DAYCARE: A POTENTIAL SOLUTION TO THE DOUBLE BURDEN
One of the ways to lessen the double burden is through the formal provision of daycare. Beyond increasing the productivity of the female workforce enrolled in the economy, it is also a way to institutionalize and formalize care work. In 19 wealthy countries that are members of the OECD, the government has provided subsidies for daycare that would make daycare affordable for low-income single parents making the cost of daycare less than 5% of their salary.[vii] Hitherto, progress is also shown by developing countries with public childcare programs, most notably in Latin American countries.[viii]
Whee does Indonesia stand on this issue? Currently, up to 98% of daycare facilities in Indonesia are run by the private sector without government subsidy and are mostly inaccessible.[ix] In research conducted by the Indonesian Child Protection Commission in 75 daycare facilities in 9 provinces, about 44% were operated without licenses, and 20% did not qualify as a good facility.[x]
There is a glimmer of hope; the progress for legally binding requirements for daycare is growing. One of them was through the drafting of the Women and Children Welfare Law. One of the points of the drafted law was to provide working mothers with accessible daycare facilities.[xi] Labor unions had also proposed that the government provide daycare by converting the public facilities for children (RPTA) into public daycare facilities.[xii] They also propose that the provision should cover the child until their primary educational year.[xiii]
More than just protecting children, this regulation will benefit the business ecosystem of Indonesia. The regulation would reduce the female workforce’s double burden, increasing the chances of meaningful participation in business and inclusion in leadership ranks. This would benefit both the public and private sectors in the long run through increased profitability and well-being which can further develop the economy and build a better business ecosystem.
 Setyawati Fitrianggraeni holds the position of Managing Partner at Anggraeni and Partners in Indonesia. She also serves as an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Indonesia, and is currently pursuing a PhD at the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden. Additionally, Muhammad Souri Cahya Gemilang is a Research Analyst in Ocean-Maritime and Climate and Sri Purnama is a Junior Legal Research Analyst at Anggraeni and Partners. The writers express their gratitude to Dr. Hary Elias for generously dedicating his time to provide valuable feedback on their article.
[i] Nasruddin, C H, ‘Tax reform to promote Indonesia’s female labor participation’ East Asia Forum (25 May 2022) <https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2022/05/25/tax-reform-to-promote-indonesias-female-labour-participation/> accessed 20 September 2023.
[ii] World Economic Forum, ‘Global Gender Gap Report 2022’ (Research report World Economic Forum 2022).
[iii] World Bank, ‘Indonesia Country Gender Assessment: Investing in Opportunities for Women’ (Research report World Bank 2021).
[iv] Ferrant et al., G, ‘Unpaid Care Work: The missing link in the analysis of gender gaps in labor outcomes’ (Research report OECD Development Centre 2014).
[v] Hochschild, A R, The Second Shift: Working Families and the Revolution at Home. (Penguin Books 2012).
[vi] Charmes, J., ‘The Unpaid Care Work and the Labour Market. An analysis of time use data based on the latest World Compilation of Time-use Surveys’ (Research report ILO 2019).
[vii] Gromada, A & Richardson, D, ‘Where do rich countries stand on childcare?’ (Research report UNICEF 2021).
[viii] Leroy et al., J L, 2012. ‘The impact of daycare programs on child health, nutrition and development in developing countries: a systematic review’ (2012) 4(3) Journal of Development Effectiveness 472.
[ix] Dewi, K H & Rahadian, A S, ‘Daycare sebagai bentuk dukungan terhadap ibu bekerja, pemerintah perlu jamin kelayakan dan keterjangkauannya [Daycare as a form of support for working mothers, the government should guarantee its quality and affordability]’ The Conversation Indonesia (25 November 2022) <https://theconversation.com/daycare-sebagai-bentuk-dukungan-terhadap-ibu-bekerja-pemerintah-perlu-jamin-kelayakan-dan-keterjangkauannya-194030> accessed 4 September 2023.
[xii] Thea, A, ‘Serikat Desak Pemerintah Bentuk Daycare untuk Anak Buruh [Labor Unions Proposed the Government for Daycare for Worker’s Children]’ Hukum Online (30 November 2022) <https://www.hukumonline.com/berita/a/serikat-desak-pemerintah-bentuk-daycare-untuk-anak-buruh-lt63871ac520ae5/?page=1> accessed 17 September 2023.
[xiii] Thea, A, ‘Begini Usulan Serikat Buruh untuk RUU Kesejahteraan Ibu dan Anak [Here are Labor Unions’ Proposals for the Drafted Women and Children Welfare Law]’ Hukum Online (14 July 2022) <https://www.hukumonline.com/berita/a/begini-usulan-serikat-buruh-untuk-ruu-kesejahteraan-ibu-dan-anak-lt64893a3cd5412/> accessed 20 September 2023.
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