COMMENTARY: A Kartini message: Guys, be brave and more lovable

Sun, 04/23/2017

by Ati Nurbaiti | Sunday, April 23, 2017 | The Jakarta Post Online





From year to year, the statistics keep fretting surveyors: Women in Indonesia’s workforce have remained stuck at about 50 percent in the last 25 years despite better access to education. The last United Nations Development Program survey said Indonesian male participation in the labor force was almost 84 percent compared to 50.9 percent for women.

If guys helped more at home, we would also have much happier families with fewer women with hair standing up from worry and workload from morning to night. Men will say they’re flat-out tired after work — but women slog it out at the workplace and also at home, as surveys show.

So what does it take to urge men to share our unpaid chores, so more women can get paid work? It takes brave men and also brave women.

Valiant men are the real hunks protecting spouses against exhaustion, by feeding Baby and cleaning the house, among other things. (Besides, the extended family system, warns the SMERU research institute, “will not last forever”!)

It also takes steadfast women to compromise their standards of when and how to do the chores. Baby can look a bit grubby as long as he doesn’t fall off the stairs. Women must neither rush to take over when she thinks hubby looks like a sissy as he patches clothes – a self-reminder!

Such men and women would brave the teasing when the men do “women’s work” – like my dad when my neighbor laughed at the sight of him washing the dishes.

Indeed, we need better policies like a changed Marriage Law, as women could be theoretically sued for neglecting their main responsibility for the household, daycare centers near workplaces of both men and women and other supportive policies.




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