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Jakarta Post

‘Patriarchal’: Women rights activists slam family resilience bill

  • Gemma Holliani Cahya
    Gemma Holliani Cahya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, February 21, 2020   /   07:51 am
‘Patriarchal’: Women rights activists slam family resilience bill A draft bill on family resilience initiated by members of the House of Representatives proposes six-months of paid maternity leave for female workers who work with the government, regional administrations, and state-owned or region-owned enterprises. (Shutterstock/-)

A controversial bill on family resilience includes a provision of six months of paid maternity leave for female workers, but only for those working in government offices, regional administrations, and state-owned or region-owned enterprises.

Article 29 of the draft bill, a copy of which has been obtained by The Jakarta Post, stipulates that the aforementioned offices are obligated to give female workers their right to “get maternity leave for six months without losing their right to salary and position.”

Other points in the article also obligate offices to provide daycare centers for children, as well as lactation rooms for female workers to breastfeed.

However, many female activists lambasted the article, calling it “patriarchal in nature.”

Mutiara Ika Pratiwi of women’s rights group Perempuan Mahardhika said the proponents only tried to deflect the fact that the whole bill would interfere with a family’s private life.

“[The article] is a deception because the bill’s spirit is to control families,” Mutiara said. “According to the International Labour Organization [ILO] convention, the spirit of true maternity rights is not for family resilience. Maternity rights should be provided for the fulfillment of basic women’s rights.”

Read also: Indonesia’s family resilience bill says housekeeping wife’s duty

Indonesian Breastfeeding Association (AIMI) chairperson Nia Umar called the bill “very weird” as provisions on maternity leave have always been part of the Manpower Law because the regulation for such leave is directed at employers.

“How will you enforce the regulation if it’s included in the family resilience bill?” said Nia.

Frenia Nababan of the Mother and Child Health Movement (GKIA) said the bill excluded females from working as “factory workers, media workers and other jobs.”

“Women working in informal sectors are always the ones facing difficulties when they want to take maternity leave,” Frenia said.

“Since its conception, this bill covers areas that are considered private, as it wants to manage Indonesian’s family lives. However, each family has their own way of handling their own problems. We don’t need government intervention or new regulations,” she went on to say.

The family resilience bill has been initiated by five politicians from several factions in the House of Representatives – three of whom are women. It has been included in the 2020 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas).