About 64.5% of micro-, small- and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) in Indonesia are owned by women. Several studies, however, reveal that during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, enterprises owned by women have suffered more than those owned by men. Most of the issues faced by women-owned MSMEs to survive during the pandemic can be traced back to the women’s lack of digital competence.
Because MSMEs play an important role in labor absorption in Indonesia, it is vital that there be specific policies to help MSMEs recover in the postpandemic era and simultaneously to accelerate digital transformation. Various studies show that digital transformation has proven to be very beneficial for almost all segments of society, including women. Digital transformation can become an alternative to mitigating the impact of the pandemic in multiple employment sectors, for example, by supporting online work and encouraging entrepreneurs to run their businesses on e-commerce platforms. The internet has also been proven to help expand employment opportunities even for women with a relatively low level of education because they can make use of the available mobile applications. Moreover, digital transformation has the potential for empowering women by helping to change the unequal pattern of gender relations. However, digital transformation at the same time provides room for perpetuating and intensifying various forms of gender inequality, especially if the digital economic platforms and regulations lack gender sensitivity.
The “Increasing Women’s Participation in the Digital Economy” seminar is part of the 2022 Forum Kajian Pembangunan (FKP) seminar series. SMERU once again is the host for the October edition and the series consists of four seminars with digital transformation chosen as the umbrella theme. Through the seminar series, The SMERU Research Institute provides a medium for discussions about the importance of pushing for digital transformation as a way to accelerate the postpandemic recovery in Indonesia and open more work opportunities for women.
Moderator: Muhammad Syukri (Senior Researcher, SMERU)
Nurmala Selly Saputri (Researcher, SMERU)
Veto Tyas Indrio (Researcher, SMERU)
Hening Wikan (Junior Researcher, SMERU)
Discussant: Rahmia Hasniasari (Public Policy and Government Relations Lead, Tokopedia)