Who wears the pants in Indonesian households?

Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta

Jakarta, posted: Sun, August 12, 2018 | 07:06 am

Many people may believe that Indonesia is in the traditional household category, but many couples run their households using the sharing system. (Shutterstock/File)

A survey conducted by the Hakuhodo Institute of Life and Living (HILL) ASEAN, a think tank established by Japanese advertising agency Hakuhodo Inc., has revealed a new perspective about gender equality in ASEAN homes, including in Indonesia.

Through quantitative and in-depth qualitative methods, the study, called the New Perspective of Gender Equality at Home, divided the roles of husbands and wives at home into four different categories: traditional, switched, flexible sharing and task-based sharing.

Many people may believe that Indonesia belongs in the traditional household category, where husbands are responsible as the breadwinner and wives are responsible for household chores and children. However, the study revealed that 73 percent of Indonesian households are in the flexible and task-based sharing category, meaning that the one who handles household chores and work is not based on gender. Flexible sharing and task-based sharing are similar, but flexible sharing is based on whoever is available to do the errands at the time, while task-based sharing is based on an equal schedule.

In addition to that, 25 percent of Indonesian households are still traditional and a mere 2 percent are switched (the opposite of traditional).

Read also: People living alone to account for 40% of Japanese households in 2040

Farhana E. Devi Attamimi, institute director of HILL ASEAN and executive director of strategy Hakuhodo Network Indonesia, during 2018 ASEAN Sei-katsu-sha Forum in South Jakarta on Aug. 3. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

The survey also identified the reasons a majority of households are based on the sharing system, among which are because both the husband and wife have jobs, women emancipation and the development of technology that enables them to share information and assignments via instant messaging platforms.

Meanwhile, in the ASEAN region, 50.9 percent of households are in the task-based sharing category. Most husbands (90 percent) and wives (83 percent) are satisfied with their current situation and plan to continue with it as they are highly aware that men should help with the household chores. Moreover, only 24.8 percent of households are based on flexible sharing, 22.7 percent traditional and 1.5 percent switched.

The survey was held in seven ASEAN countries, including Indonesia (Jakarta and Surabaya), Singapore, Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) and Vietnam (Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City). “It was conducted with 13,000 respondents to learn about gender equality at home and the effect on purchase decisions,” said Farhana E. Devi Attamimi, institute director of HILL ASEAN and executive director of strategy Hakuhodo Network Indonesia, during the 2018 ASEAN Sei-katsu-sha Forum in South Jakarta on Aug. 3.

Devi also explained how targeting couples was important for marketers and media outlets, as wives could be the decisionmaker in the purchasing of many products, starting from diapers to cars. “Gender is usually used to make marketing strategies. Cars, for instance, are presented for husbands. It’s rare for marketers to target wives,” Devi said. “But the fact is, wives do decide which car should be chosen. If marketers don’t communicate to the wives, the information about a product won’t be clear as it would be for a husband’s perspective and they would have to make assumptions.” (asw)

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