The Real Story Behind the Numbers: The impacts of the global economic crisis 2008-2009 on Indonesia's women workers

Publication date

15 Feb 2010

Share publication

This research report is one of four case studies commissioned by Oxfam GB on the impact of the global economic crisis on women in East Asian countries. It aims to uncover how women in Indonesia have been affected, especially those working in industrial zones. Through qualitative methods such as focus group discussions and in-depth interviews, the research found that despite a quick response from the central government of Indonesia, many women workers are likely to remain untouched by the government's stimulus package. This report confirms that the crisis affects men and women differently, in the context of industrial relations and the social construct of gender relations. Unemployment has been slightly reduced by labour market flexibility and the growth of the informal sector in Indonesia, despite the rising number of lay-offs. However, this exposes women workers to less income and means they do not have access to social protection measures. Less income also means that in the family, women workers tend to reduce their food and other consumption and are more prone to domestic conflicts that lead to violence. Pressures to become migrant workers are among the desperate choices faced by women workers.