Gender equality

Break the glass ceiling of gender equality at work

Around the world, more and more women are participating in the labour market. However, women are still inadequately represented at the labour market and gender barriers remain.

News | Jakarta, Indonesia | 26 April 2021
The ILO participated at the webinar discussion held by Tempo Media Group, a leading media agency in Indonesia, about the elimination of gender equality at work in Indonesia on 20 April. The webinar was conducted as part of the commemoration of the National Women’s Day which is also known as Kartini’s Day. The webinar was also part of the online discussion series, titled “role of women during pandemic”, featuring 50 influential women in Indonesia.


The webinar was officially opened by Ida Fauziyah, the Indonesian Minister of Manpower. She stated about the low labour force participation rate of Indonesian women at 53.13 percent, compared to men at 82.41 percent. “We still face many challenges in achieving gender equality at work. These challenges are even worse during the pandemic. In addition to stereotyping, gender discrimination and sexual harassment, women often face double burdens of domestic work and childcare while working from home. Domestic violence against women has also increased,” she stated.

We still face many challenges in achieving gender equality at work. These challenges are even worse during the pandemic. In addition to stereotyping, gender discrimination and sexual harassment, women often face double burdens of domestic work and childcare while working from home. Domestic violence against women has also increased."

Ida Fauziyah, the Indonesian Minister of Manpower
In line with Ida’s statements, Lusiani Julia, ILO’s Programme Officer for Gender and Labour Standard, agreed that double burdens of domestic and commercial works have become huge barriers for women to enter the labour market. Meanwhile, for women at work, they still have to face remaining issues of gaps in social protection and gender pay.

“Women still earn less than men and many women are still not covered by social protection system as they often involve in informal economy,” said Lusi confirming the current data from the Central Statistical Bureau (BPS) that showed only 30 percent women held managerial positions in public and private sectors and women earned 23 percent less than men did.

Lusiani also discussed about a glass ceiling phenomenon in which women cannot move further to achieving higher career due to unconscious self and social barriers. Adequate gender policies as well as supports from both employers and trade unions are considered crucial to break the ceiling.

“Gender quota, for example, should be expanded in both public and private sectors. Employers should set up policies that prevent gender discrimination and create a clear mechanism to report sexual harassment, while trade unions should promote and advocate gender equality to their members so that domestic and commercial burdens can be shared equally between men and women,” she elaborated.

Employers should set up policies that prevent gender discrimination and create a clear mechanism to report sexual harassment, while trade unions should promote and advocate gender equality to their members so that domestic and commercial burdens can be shared equally between men and womenmeasures to support people and firms are needed."

Lusiani Julia, ILO’s Programme Officer for Gender and Labour Standard
She also highlighted the importance of education on gender equality at all levels of society. Cultural barriers, for example, still discourage women to enter male-dominated sectors, including sectors related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), while at the same time there is an urgent need for women to be able to adjust with the fast changing world of work due to technology advancement.

Other key to gender equality, Lusiani added, was women should master both technical and soft skills. “Technical skills will allow women to catch up with the latest technology development and industrial change; while soft skills in the forms of good attitudes and characters will define women’s success as they will be more resilience and motivated,” she stated.

Lusiani concluded the ILO’s participation in the discussion by highlighting ILO’s commitment to deliver gender equality agenda that was reflected on its centenary declaration. The declaration ensures equal opportunities, equal participation and equal treatment, enables a more balanced sharing of family responsibilities, provides scope for achieving better work–life balance and promotes investment in the care economy.

“Through social dialogues and technical assistance on policy development, ILO continue to support its member States to achieving gender equality at work and ensuring decent work for all,” Lusi concluded.

The event also presented other resource persons as the following: Regent of Nunukan, Asmin Laura Hafidz, Regent of Lebak, Iti Octavia Jayabaya and Founder of London School Public Relation, Prita Kemal Ghani. They all agreed that women should be provided with more opportunities to join the labour market and social barriers should be removed to develop an enabling environment for women to be treated equally.