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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Islamic Law in Indonesia 2

The Compilation of Islamic Law chapters 79-84 states that in a marriage the husband has a role as the breadwinner and the wife as the housewife who is responsible for all kinds of domestic affairs. This law then justified the gender-biased view that has existed for ages, about dichotomy of public and private spheres. There are two main consequences of this law.

First, when a woman works outside the house, she will have double roles—as the breadwinner and as the homemaker. When she unluckily has a gender-biased husband, she will have to do all of the household chores without the husband’s help, merely because doing household chores is considered as the woman’s destiny. A woman is born and destined to be the homemaker and not as the breadwinner. The selfish man will (make) use of the unfair law for his egotism.

The second consequence is because a woman is not considered as being born as the breadwinner, she will be considered as single in the workplace. Consequently, she will not get any allowance a married man gets although she is already married. When the workplace is generous enough to give her the allowance, she has to pay tax as the single woman, which is higher than a married man does.

Some years ago, there was a dispute about this in my ex workplace. A female workmate of mine complained to the company why she was considered as single while in fact she was married and she had four children. Consequently, her tax was higher than the male workmate who was married and had four children too. Sadly, I explained to her that it was not the policy of the workplace where we worked together, however it was the policy of the Indonesian government.

This is just one example that Indonesia’s ratification of CEDAW (The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women) in 1984 doesn’t really help improve women’s lives yet. Twenty-two years after this ratification, women in Indonesia are still treated discriminatively.

PT56 22.05 160107

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