Lusiani Julia, ILO's programme officer, explained that the agriculture and fisheries sectors in Indonesia are sources of livelihood for more than 38 million workers. Such number, she said, is almost 30 percent of the total working population.
"Women play a vital role as they are involved in both sectors. Women cannot be separated from the production process, including harvesting or packaging," she said.
Based on the Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) in Indonesia in 2010, there were around 13.79 million women working in these sectors. This number represented 36 percent of the total number of workers working in these sectors.
Women workers do not have access to information on occupational safety and health (OSH). They are in need of labour protection due to limited number of inspections."Lusiani Julia, ILO's programme officer
In addition, the agricultural sector and oil palm plantations are usually located in remote areas that limit female workers’ access to information, especially on the rights that they should obtain.
"Women workers do not have access to information on occupational safety and health (OSH). They are in need of labour protection due to limited number of inspections," said Julia.
Julia continued that the common issues faced in palm oil and fisheries sectors include non-standard employment practices, low wages and wage violations. It is worsened with unsafe and very dangerous working conditions. Thus, the value of women's participation and its contribution are not being heeded.
"Low awareness concerning gender issues, OSH and labor standards, limited rights of association and bargaining," she said.
In addition, the number of labour inspectors is limited, the coordination among competent authorities is weak and the transparency concerning working relations and conducive working conditions is poor. They also face limited access to international markets where compliance with labour regulations and standards are compulsory in order to gain wider market access.
The ILO, said Julia, intends to prioritize the rights of female workers in these two industrial sectors, particularly in Indonesia and the Philippines so as to enable these countries to coordinate in carrying out the mission. "So there is an improved compliance with gender equality issue. It should be a mutual concern because it will mutually benefit both employers and workers," she concluded.
Meanwhile the Founder and Chair of the Migrant Care Center for Migration Studies, Anis Hidayah, said working condition in both industrial sectors is unfavourable for women as disclosed in enormous investigative articles. "The conditions are unfavourable for female workers in both sectors. They are being physically and mentally discriminated. It is apparent that the government or companies are being slow in responding to this issue," she said.
Sexual harassment occurs and it is real. The ILO urges such violations should be eliminated and should be addressed. Perhaps, later, we can work together."Anis Hidayah, Founder and Chair of the Migrant Care Center for Migration Studies
"Sexual harassment occurs and it is real. The ILO urges such violations should be eliminated and should be addressed. Perhaps, later, we can work together," said Anis.
Anis further asserted that incidents in both industries are similar to modern slavery. However, the government often ignores female workers’ issues in both sectors. "The government has a poor commitment. They only asked questions. These problems often occurred for years. There has to be certainties," he asserted.
She hopes all related parties to help encouraging the fulfilment of female ‘s rights because researches revealed many cases of exploitation and slavery. "Regarding this issue, we still have a lot of homework to do. The campaign is very important," she said.
Meanwhile, a researcher on employment issues at Parahyangan University, Bandung, Indrasari Tjandraningsih said that, actually, there are equal numbers of female and male workers, but the role of these female workers is not visible.
"The role of female workers is still invisible and it is really strange. We should improve the visibility of female workers," she said.
She further asserted that demographically, the age of male and female workers in both sectors is ranged from 6 to 60 years old and their education levels are low ranging from no school, elementary to junior high school levels.
Women have important rights, so they should be treated equally."Indrasari Tjandraningsih, a researcher on employment issues at Parahyangan University, Bandung
"Their wages are ranged from Rp. 20 thousand to 40 thousand per day for eight working hours or more. They also face OSH issues due to its invisible nature, and they do not receive the Government’s social security," she asserted.
Female workers in both sectors, Indasari continued, have poor knowledge. They do not know what rights they should be receive as workers. They only work to support family members.
“There are enormous cases of exploitation against female workers. Male and female workers are treated differently," she said.
According to CBS (2020) on gender wage gap statistics, the wages earned by female workers are lower than those of male workers. Gender pay gap at the primary level, for instance, is 40 percent in 2020.
"Wage of male workers who graduated from elementary school is 40 percent higher than that of female workers with the same education level," she elaborated.
She further asserted that all parties should take actions in resolving these issues. Therefore, female workers should enjoy their rights as guaranteed by the government.
The existence of female workers is real and they bring fortune to companies and the Government and therefore, Indrasari continued, women should also enjoy profits made by companies in accordance with the laws.
"Women have important rights, so they should be treated equally," she concluded.
The ILO Worker’s Rights in Rural Sector with Focus on Women Project, funded by the US Department of Labor (US DOL) aims to contribute to ensuring and sustaining improved working conditions, especially for women workers, through the improvement and promotion of labour laws compliance, occupational safety and health and gender equality, in the rural sectors in the Philippines and Indonesia.
The project is implemented as part of Safety + Health for All, the ILO Flagship Programme – aimed at improving the safety and health of workers worldwide.
For further information, please contact:Januar Rustandie
Project Manager of the ILO Worker's Rights in Rural Sector