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Jakarta Post

Indonesia’s family resilience bill says housekeeping wife’s duty

  • Gemma Holliani Cahya
    Gemma Holliani Cahya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, February 19, 2020   /   05:18 pm
Indonesia’s family resilience bill says housekeeping wife’s duty Point 3 of the article stipulates that housewives “are responsible for managing household affairs as best as possible” to maintain the family’s unity, as well as to fulfill the rights and treat their husband and children well based on, among other factors, religious norms. (Shutterstock/Ivanko80)

Many Indonesians would agree that traditional households – which typically assign domestic roles based on gender, with the husband as the breadwinner and the wife in charge of household chores and children – should be a thing of the past.

However, a draft bill on so-called family resilience, which has been floated at the House of Representatives, apparently wants to challenge the idea by bringing back the traditional way of managing households.

Article 25 of the draft bill, a copy of which was obtained by The Jakarta Post, stipulates that husband and wives “are responsible for performing their individual roles in accordance with religious norms, social ethics and the prevailing laws”.

The article stipulates that only the husband has the obligation to be the breadwinner and to fulfill the family’s welfare and household needs, as well as to protect himself and the family from “mistreatment, exploitation and sexual deviation”.

Point 3 of the article stipulates that housewives “are responsible for managing household affairs as best as possible” and to maintain the family’s unity, as well as to fulfill the rights and treat their husband and children well based on, among other factors, religious norms.

The bill, one of the 50 bills listed as priority bills in the 2020 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas), has received criticism from the public, with many women calling it patriarchal in nature. 

Financial planner Ligwina Hananto criticized the bill through a post on her Twitter account @mrshananto.

“[...] I may violate the family resilience law. [When] the husband is at home and the wife is working in Papua then who will take care of the household, huh?” she tweeted.

Meanwhile, Indonesia Solidarity Party (PSI) executive Tsamara Amany tweeted her criticism through her account @TsamaraDKI on Wednesday, implying that it was not the government’s job to interfere in the private lives of couples.

“The state is trying to control the households of its citizens. Now, the role of husbands and wives is intended to be arranged according to certain perspectives in law! There is no definite responsibility of a husband or wife. The duties of the two depend on their own agreement – not the country’s regulation,” she said.

The family resilience bill was initiated by five politicians from several factions in the House. Three of them are women.

They are Ledia Hanifa and Netty Prasetiyana, both from the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Endang Maria Astuti from the Golkar Party, Sodik Mudjahid from the Gerindra Party and Ali Taher from the National Mandate Party (PAN).