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Jakarta Post

Pandemic hits women in informal work hardest

  • Tri Indah Oktavianti


Jakarta   /   Thu, March 4 2021   /  01:00 am
Women from Golomedi village in East Manggarai regency in East Nusa Tenggara carry firewood on their way back home on April 30, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased poverty rates, but the health crisis has hit rural areas harder than urban areas. (JP/Markus Makur)

A year into the COVID-19 epidemic in Indonesia, many are struggling for survival with limited income and access to food. But women in informal work have proven to be resilient, as they faced challenges head on while navigating the intricacies of traditional gender roles that call for them to be caretakers and housewives. The informal work sector has been a significant source of employment and income for women in Indonesia, with many engaging in part-time jobs. Based on Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data from last year, some 56 percent of the nation’s total workforce, or around 74 million people, work in the informal sector. And while women have been doing most of the world’s lowly-paid jobs even before the onset of the pandemic, women in the informal sector are often unseen or left behind, especially when the government does not provide adequate legal recognition for their...