Indonesia’s economic volatility is challenged by the verge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It will change the structure of work, productivity and, in particular, the dynamic of gender equality. Certain jobs and tasks are already disappearing. Nevertheless, some work opportunities are emerging; and countries that succeed in upgrading and re-skilling their labour force to strengthen access to decent work will benefit greatly from this transformation. In this light we often ask how women will fare in this future of work?
The momentum of the Fourth Industrial Revolution can help deconstruct multiple obstacles encountered by women in Indonesia towards gaining equal rights, particularly access to work, because the number of jobs may increase as a result of the expansion of sectors. However, until now, norms and the socio-culture remain deterring factors in controlling women’s labour participation. In addition, policies and institutions have restrained women from obtaining equal rights.
Indonesian women’s participation in the labour force is not only smaller than men but also concentrated in fewer sectors. Women are primarily found in the manufacturing, service and agriculture sectors. In fact, despite the economic growth, women’s participation in the labour force remains stagnant and has never been separated from their ascribed role as care workers in the family and community.
In this paper the authors explore the future of women’s work through the gender framework, based on the sectors in which women have traditionally participated, and offers a projection based on several determinants, such as the demographic dividend, climate change, the environment and technology disruption.