(“Law of marriage in Indonesia states that women are housewife and not breadwinner. This results in the regulation of manpower matters where women are only considered as spare breadwinner, therefore they deserve to get paid lower than their fellow man workmates and not get the same fringe benefits.” Women Journal no 42 page 5)
This afternoon when discussing some questions about men’s and women’s jobs with my Intermediate 3 students, I found out how those teenagers have “ideal” world of equal pay for equal work. One question to be discussed was, “Do men get paid better than women?” None of them answered “yes” with almost similar reasons, “It depends on their skill, capability, experience, education.”
“That’s lovely, my dear students,” was my response. However, I want them to open their eyes that it is still utopia in many companies in Indonesia. What is the main reason? I think I can refer to my quotation above. Law of marriage in Indonesia still considers women only as homemakers, not supposed to be breadwinner. This law, then, is made use by many companies to feel deserved to give women lower salary than men coz “they are not supposed to be responsible with household necessities. Their husbands are.” How about for single women? single mothers? Or those wives whose husbands are unemployed? Or whose husbands are not responsible to provide their daily needs? Do those companies care for these women?
It is true that the reason for those women to work is money. To survive, people need money. When those women realize that they don’t get paid fairly (only coz of different sex), they cannot complain because if they complain, they will get fired. It is easy for the company to look for new employees due to the high rate of unemployment in Indonesia. Therefore, those women stay to work there, with unfair salary. Not much can be done so far for the betterment for women.
If those women are lucky to get fair amount of salary with their male counterpart, there is still one thing that will make women get lower amount. TAX! The regulation for paying salary tax determines that when a man is married, he will pay less tax. When he is married and has some children, he will even pay lesser tax. How about women? No matter whether a woman is married or not, having kid or not, this particular woman is still considered single. A married woman who has three children, let’s say, will pay tax as high as those single women!
Encouragingly, I talked to my female students, “Well, nowadays Non Government Organizations for women are still struggling to propose a fairer regulation in tax for women. Hopefully, later on when you graduate from college, you will be able to enjoy a more free gender-biased manpower matters so that you will not suffer from this unfairness.”