The increasing number of women in the job market can be seen from the increasing rate of Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) of women from time to time. According to data from three periods during the Population Census of 1990, 2000, and National Labor Force Survey (Sakernas) 2010, the rates for women respectively are 38.79%, 43.98% and 51.76%.
In the same respective period, in Bali province the number reached 52.52%, 63.06%, and 70.16%. "This is much higher than the national percentage. This situation gives an indication that economic activity of women in Bali is much higher than women nationally," said Anak Agung Istri Marhaeni at the Center for Population and Policy Studies, Universitas Gadjah Mada, on Thursday (15/9).
The lecturer of Faculty of Economics, Udayana University, Bali, mentions this when presenting at a monthly seminar held in the Center. With the theme "The empowerment level of Balinese women in the Echelon Position in Bali province, Seen From Internal and External Dimensions", Marhaeni explains the high economic activity level of women in Bali cannot be separated from the issue of culture (religion) in Bali that perceive working as a dharma or duty that must be conducted both by men and women. The increase in labor force participation rate indicates there has been increased empowerment of women in the economic field.
Unfortunately, the increasing empowerment of women in the economic field is not necessarily followed by increased well-being or the level of wages earned. Even when compared with the the rate for men, women still have lower rates. For example in 1990, the men’s rate in the province of Bali reached 71.05% and in 2010 increased to 84.64%. This reflects that the economic empowerment of women is lower compared with that of men. The high number of women who are absorbed in the informal sector is a reflection of inequality in the economic empowerment of women, as well as the wage ratio of women to men. "The expansion of the sexual division of labor also happens in the public sector, where men and women have different segments in the public sector," she explained.
According to Marhaeni, women inequality in terms of economy can also be seen from their empowerment in the echelon position. Although the level of women’s education and involvement in the public sector increased, the inequality still persists in particular position, especially in public servants environment. The inequality of echelon officers’ percentage by sex even occurs in all districts/cities as well as provinces in different levels. "The data shows that the percentage of Balinese women who managed to hold echelon positions is much less compared to men. In other words, men have far greater opportunities than women in holding leadership positions," said the UGM doctoral candidate.
Marhaeni said there are many theories and researches that have been done to find the answer to this phenomenon. That the low chances for women to occupy the structural position (echelon) among other are resulted by factors, such as factors of the women themselves as well as factors that originate from outside.
The factors associated with the level of women empowerment, she said, can be identified into internal and external factors. Factors originating from women themselves (internal factors), among others are concerning their achievement motivation, the quality of self (human capital), as well as social and psychological barriers. While the factors that originate from outside (external factors) can derive from the family and the wider community, such as cultural factor, career development opportunities, demographic and structural barriers. "These are the factors that hold back women to develop their careers in order to achieve the leadership or higher position," she said.