What do the three presidential and vice presidential candidates fail to see regarding female workers?

Female workers produce personal protective equipment. The LSI Denny JA survey stated that 74,8% of people in 8 provinces had their economy worsen during Covid-19. BETWEEN PHOTOS/M RISYAL HIDAYAT/AWW.

Author: Eka Afrina Djamhari (Social Policy Researcher, The PRAKARSA) & Eksanti Amalia Kusuma Wardhani (Junior Researcher, The PRAKARSA).

The issue of labor and women has not yet become a serious discourse for the three pairs of candidates (paslon) in the 2024 Presidential Election (Pilpres). Even though each candidate pair offers their vision and mission regarding labor and women, there is still an empty space that needs to be filled to address the challenges of discrimination and inequality future relations.

Candidate Candidates Anies Baswedan-Muhaimin Iskandar, for example, offers what they call “28 Prosperity Nodes” for labor and women's groups. This special agenda in their vision and mission promises a fair wage system, food aid, social protection, training and scholarship programs, protection for workers and involvement in the policy formulation process.

The couple also expressed their commitment to ensuring the fulfillment of women's rights in terms of protection against acts of violence, starting from the prevention process to rehabilitation, implementing maternity and childbirth leave for mothers and fathers, as well as providing affordable childcare facilities and lactation rooms in public spaces for breastfeeding mothers. .

Candidate Candidates Prabowo Subianto–Gibran Rakabuming Raka, proclaiming inclusiveness and welfare of workers in general in terms of strengthening human resources (HR), upholding human rights (HAM), economic equality, and legal reform.

They are committed to implementing policies that are inclusive and have a gender perspective and prioritize efforts to empower women and protect children, one of which is in terms of enforcing applicable laws. Strengthening human resources is carried out by providing educational assistance to the children of farmers, fishermen, teachers and laborers to continue their education from undergraduate to doctoral level.

Meanwhile, candidate pairs Ganjar Pranowo-Mahfud MD offers a slightly different idea. They promise the welfare of workers and women through housing assistance with easy and cheap payment mechanisms for low-income people, job opportunities and protection for workers, affordable childcare facilities in the formal and informal sectors and maternity leave facilities for mothers and husbands with guaranteed wages and 100% fixed allowance.

The vision and mission of each candidate pair has actually accommodated some of the needs of labor groups, especially female workers. So, what is missing from their commitment?

There is still a void

First, the vision and mission of the Prabowo-Gibran candidate pair regarding labor and women issues has only just reached the normative stage. This candidate pair is only at the stage of using inclusive terminology and a gender perspective without sensitivity to realizing it in concrete policy formulations to help improve the welfare of female workers.

Issues like childcare facilities and maternity and childbirth leave policies for mothers and fathers still go unnoticed.

This candidate pair also has not elaborated on its law enforcement mission to empower women and protect children. What deserves attention is what kind of law enforcement mechanism will be implemented and how to ensure that it can uphold aspects of gender equality.

Secondly,, the childcare facilities offered by Ganjar-Mahfud are projected to reach the grassroots level, both in the formal and informal sectors. However, this candidate pair neglected to review other needs which are no less important for female workers, namely related matters lactation room comfortable in work spaces and public spaces.

Third, the childcare facility initiated by Anies-Muhaimin is new at the level offices and companies. This facility has not yet reached female workers in the informal sector, such as agricultural, forestry and fisheries workers more than 30% of its workers are female workers.

Not only that, the three candidate pairs still do not guarantee quality standards and affordability of childcare facilities for poor groups.

Previously, regulations on quality standards for child care settings had been regulated in Minister of Education and Culture Regulation No 137/2004, such as safe and clean room standards for children, staff competency standards and the ratio of staff to child care, educational children's learning media, and the nutrition provided. Unfortunately, this regulation has been repealed and is no longer legally valid.

Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) noted that as many as 20% of childcare places were of poor quality and 6% were at very poor quality standards. Not again, 44% the childcare center does not have a legally valid permit.

The implication is that the safety and welfare of children is not guaranteed, which can disrupt their growth and development process. In addition, the absence of a valid permit will result in minimal supervision by the authorities regarding the activities of the childcare center.

Affordable childcare often has low quality standards. Meanwhile, good quality childcare places are often set at high prices up to IDR 3.000.000 per month.

Apart from that, the three candidate pairs do not yet have an idea regarding the reporting mechanism if cases of violence against female workers occur. There is subordination– a condition where one gender is considered better than another gender – places female workers in a very vulnerable position.

As a result, resolution of cases of violence against female workers and other human rights violations is still not in favor of the victims.

A glimmer of hope for female workers

Despite its shortcomings, the vision and mission of the three candidate pairs is a glimmer of hope as a starting point for efforts to protect and improve welfare for groups of women workers. So far, regulations governing and ensuring the welfare of female workers in the informal sector are still not optimal.

This is important considering the large number of female workers who work in the informal sector with a high risk of being overlooked by efforts to protect and fulfill their rights.

As an example, there are no regulations yet which requires the plantation sector to provide child care facilities causes female workers in the palm oil plantation sector do not have access to quality and affordable facilities.

As a result, they choose to entrust their children to family or hand over responsibility entirely to their first child. This makes parental supervision of children less than ideal. RESEARCH in Southeast Sulawesi, for example, there were cases of child abuse caused by less than optimal child care due to the lack of care facilities.

Inequality in relations between labor groups and employers also exacerbates cases of violations of the rights of women workers.

As an example, study which is conducted by The PRAKARSA against oil palm plantation workers in West Kalimantan and Central Sulawesi shows that there are still many abusive practices.

This includes gender-based discrimination in terms of wages as well as fulfilling the right to menstrual leave, pregnancy, childbirth, and the right to provide adequate breast milk. Not again other violations that still haunt female oil palm plantation workers, such as lack of access to work protection and safety and cases of violence in the workplace.

Future leaders must make the issue of women workers a concrete development agenda, not just a political issue. Bearing in mind, in the practical realm, there are still many female workers who work in high-risk sectors who are entitled to protection and fulfillment of welfare as a basic right.


This article was previously published on theconversation.com by title "What do the three presidential and vice presidential candidates fail to see regarding female workers?”. Click to read: theconversation.com

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