Essay Example on Female Heads of Household

Published: 2017-12-18
Essay Example on Female Heads of Household
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Female Discrimination Personality
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 2002 words
17 min read


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This literature review would delve in the existing literature that has established information on Indonesian female-headed households and the unemployment rate, female labor participation, GDP per capita, as well as the number of female-headed households and to give information on their status.

Status of Female heads of Households

Slightly over 50 percent of the world’s population is made up women. However despite the large population their active engagement and contribution toward economic activity, improvement and sustainability are a major concern. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), globally, 865 million women are capable of fully participating in the enhancement of their economies. A greater percentage of these women, (about 812 million) live in developing countries and emerging economies.

The below par contribution has been associated with significant economic consequences since the females have low representation in senior and entrepreneurial positions. Several attempts to alleviate major concerns in this area have been stalled by low progress toward gender equality. Division of global labor markets between gender and sex-based description has resulted instead. Male to female labor participation ratios in major economies in the world remains in poor balance, with women mostly participating in unpaid labor, over engagement in underrepresentation in paid labor. The women’s options at paid work schemes have been limited due to major discriminations and distortions. The global implication of these gender labor concerns is far much consequential to the economy.

According to research by International Monetary Fund, the gross domestic product per capita loss in certain regions of the world due to labor market gender gaps account for up to 27 percent. Raising these gender gaps would produce GDP increases significantly, for instance by 5 percent in the United States, 9 percent in Japan, 12 percent in the United Arab Emirates, and 34 percent in Egypt ( Women, Work and the Economy, 2013)

The importance of gender equality and the inclusion of women in the economic development of a country cannot be underestimated. Several implications are associated with their full engagement toward the development of these economies and improvement of their GDPs. Significant macroeconomic gains are associated with the full engagement of women in the labor markets. The engagement of women has been cited a major route to combat the effects associated with a shrinking labor force, hence the boost in growth. In countries where the women have a higher education level, they would bring in more skilled and experienced labor force. This would be ensuring that even more girls are enrolled in schools are granted access to opportunities to fill in positions in the gender-balanced workforce markets. Most benefits would be realized through the development and productivity of female-owned companies due to equality in access to resources and similar yields regarding output gains.

Female Unemployment

The female unemployment is estimated to be higher than that of the male employment rates, that is, 5.8 percent and 5.3 percent respectively. Although the participation of women in the labor market has steadily stood for the past decade, the women’s engagement in the labor market remains low. The figures stand at 30 percent within the regions of Western Asia and North Africa; a better 40 percent in southern countries in Asia; and just below 50 percent in the Central America and the Caribbean. There has been a considerate narrowing of the employment gap between the two gender groups in the recent years between 2010 and 2015, due to the emergence of several women and gender equality advocacy groups within the global scope. The gender gaps are smaller in the earlier youth ages and widen up within the prime working years of life. In more established economies and the developed countries, the majority of the labor force in the services sector is composed of the females, compared the males. At least 75 percent of the female labor force is found in the services industry in Latin America and the Caribbean. These services include the areas of mid-skills and low-status positions hospitality, tourism, and hotel. The positions include clerks, service works, shop sales and market attendants. Within the sub-Saharan Africa and the Southern regions of Asia, the female populations dominate the less informal agricultural sector. Here, the females work as their small-scale farm owners and contributing toward the daily feeding needs of their families. However, in the recent years, the females have entered the male-dominated industries with little achievements. In most instances, the women are faced with hostilities and discrimination or accorded job positions with low status. They are employed in underrepresented positions reflecting more employment gaps based on gender differences.

Unemployment is an important indicator of the kind of distress that exists within the labor market in emerging economies and developing countries. The ratio of employment to population is also important as an economic indicator that reveals the gender gaps existing within that economy. Labor market participation based on sex and age can be used to provide further insight into the demographic and behavioral effects of the population. For instance, the engagement of tender aged women and girls implies education. The analyses of gender gaps may also reveal important aspects of job quality based on either vulnerability or and segregation. This indicates the extent that women may be confined to particular industries, like the services industry indicate above or some specific types of employment opportunities.

Women are prone to various employment limitations and disadvantages in the occupational and labor markets. According to the ILO, the gender employment gaps in labor markets have been heightened by the global economic crisis by just over 0.7 percent. The global unemployment rate of women plateaued at 5.8 per cent as a result and ILO projects no declinations in that figure even as far as 2017 and beyond ( Boris, 2014). Several factors that all lead to the lack of opportunity and discrimination has been cited to be the cause of the concerning levels of unemployment of the females compared to their male counterparts. These factors include;

• The dominance of the women in the temporal jobs and short-term contracts - Unlike the temporary schemes, permanently contracted employees enjoy benefits of salary certainty, compensations due to statutory severance, prior contract termination notices, and legislated employment protection. The temporary employment of more women than men makes the women vulnerable to unemployment.

• Women have also been assigned most family commitments and are more likely to enter and exit the labor market in quick succession than their male counterparts. This makes up for several instances of career interruptions and subsequently longer periods of unemployment. Meanwhile, the men can directly hop from job to job with minimal career interruptions. The career interruptions that lead to detachment from the labor market can also lead to the initially acquired skills being obsolete and a consequential loss of employable attributes.

• Labor segregation that implies the characterization of jobs based on gender differences can also be cited as a major cause of unemployment among women. Such segregations can result from the technological changes and economics shocks witnessed in an economy. Occupational segregation occurs in two different scenarios, horizontally and vertically. In horizontal occupation segregation, women are over-employed in one sector and underrepresented in others. Vertical segregation, on the other hand, refers to the scenario where the women are afforded limited opportunities at work compared to their female counterparts with elite and major positions within the same work industry. In some instances, these males receive better pay, promotions and work benefits regardless of their skills and experience.

Recommendation for the Mitigation Measures Case Study: Indonesian Female-headed Households

To ensure equitable representation and alleviation of the vulnerability of women to equitable chances and opportunities in the society, the Indonesian ministries of Home Affairs and National development planning in association with the World Bank established the Female Headed Household Empowerment Program or Pemberdayaan Perempuan Kepala Keluarga, PEKKA. This program was started due to the high poverty rate indications by the women headed households according to the National statistics board. Another possible stimulation was the World Bank’s observation that these women were associated with second-generation poverty that resulted from disaster losses, and were not involved in collective decision making. Despite the already existing inequalities in the Indonesian society, the single female house heads were denied opportunities and could only afford marginal places in the society. Envisioning at the start, the involvement of households’ female heads in contribution toward the establishment of a prosperous and dignified society with gender equality, PEKKA had several goals outlined within its mission, including to;

• Enhance the welfare and livelihood of the membership women

• Facilitation of a better exposure to necessary resources

• The building of critical awareness on the responsibility, social status and socio-political associated rights of the members.

• Enhance their participation of the membership women on the economic, social, cultural and political aspects of life.

• Improve their decision-making capacity right from the household level to matters of national significance (World Bank, 2012).

The PEKKA strategy was based on four pillars that consisted of visioning, capacity building, organization and development of network and advocacy and changes in social aspects of their lives. According to the World Bank, the program has achieved remarkable results about the initially set goals and mission. The achievements of the program have been grand and are outlined below:

• Within the country, there are about 475 villages in 19 provinces that have 750 groups undertaking the PEKKA program. The membership includes women with low economic backgrounds, together with the beneficiary families and communities from which they come.

• The various PEKKA groups now own about 33 cooperative microcredit schemes. Their total assets are valued at an amount of 1,280,000 US dollars together with savings mobilized amounting to 340,000 US dollars. The loans of the members range between100 and 2,800 US dollars.

• In the period after the Aceh tsunami, the PEKKA established and also renovated the affected member’s 284 houses, help about 830 PEKKA members to regain their lost investments and afforded 2,489 scholarships for their children’s study.

• The program has trained over 1,500 women leaders from the grassroots who are actively engaged in several operations in development planning and decision-making in the community.

• The program has also trained over 100 PEKKA paralegals who have been helping some 6,639 less fortunate children in obtaining their certificates of birth, another 2,317 members who help in initiating access to less costly village court in marriage cases. They have also helped in presenting violence cases to court for 14 women.

• The program has established sixty-one Early Childhood Education (ECD) centers. The center has assisted 2343 students. Apart from the ECD center are also ninety-two literacy institutions that educate 2,562 illiterate women. The institutions also provide scholarships to school dropouts to help them become better women leaders.

• Over a compulsory nine-year period the program has granted 15,450 school children scholarships.

• Over 7700 members have benefitted from a community-based learning that covers 88 communities. A slight number within the group (10 percent) are male.

• The program has also established 9 community radio stations that have approximately 8.5 hours daily of on-air duration. The broadcasting covers about 7,700 listeners. Beside the radio station are 7community video studios, which does an annual production average rate of ten community videos covering matters of justice and social importance (World Bank, 2012).

Overwhelmed by the impact of the program in her life one widow, Mrs. Wa Ode Sahana, who is now a motorboat owner was amazed by the transformation in her life regarding economic and social empowerment. As at the year 2010, nine million households in Indonesia were headed by women. The females who were of an average age of about 20 to 60 years were headed households of an average of about six individuals. This translates to about 44 million citizens. Amongst the households they headed, sixty percent had gone or were then going to school. The female heads mostly constituted widows and women who had been abandoned by their husbands. In other families, the men had traveled to seek work opportunities abroad with no return.

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