In Indonesia, entrepreneurship is a significant contributor to the prosperity of the country and health of the economy. It is also vital in the creation of jobs for locals. Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) account for a staggering 97% of domestic employment in the Southeast Asian country.
Women play a vital role in furthering the development of entrepreneurship in Indonesia. As the number of women entrepreneurs in Indonesia increases annually, they have immense potential to drive change within their communities and bring about advancements in rural areas. However, women in Indonesia continue to face challenges such as gender discrimination, lack of resources and limited accss to quality education.
In this blog, we discuss why entrepreneurship is important and list the barriers women face when it comes to starting up and sustaining a business.
According to a 2018 report conducted by OECD, the local government recognises the importance of MSMEs and and how they drive economic growth and social inclusion. For women, entrepreneurship is important as it offers them financial independence and the confidence to make decisions and effect control over the different areas of their life.
Formal employment also comes with its set of challenges, such as pay inequality, sexual harrasment and discrimantory hiring practises – making entrepreneurship an attractive alternative career option for indonesian women. Entrepreneurship is also important for the women here as it offers the flexibility to earn an income whilst still carrying out the responsibilities expected of them.
While entrepreneurship has much to offer the young women of indonesia, several barriers stand in the way of true progress.
Young girls are unable to stay in school due to several reasons, including financial constraints, child marriage and needing to enter the labour market early. In a survey conducted by UNESCO, half of the females surveyed felt that inadequate financial resources prevented them from receiving further education.
There is also a higher chance for girls in the family to be pulled out of school than for boys. 46 million adolescents in Indonesia, almost 25% of those aged 15 to 19, were not in education, employment or training (NEET), according to UNICEF. Indonesia also has one of the highest rates of child marriages in the world, with one in nine married before they turn eighteen.
Gender stereotypes continue to influence the expectations the Indonesian community has on its women. Patriarchal beliefs are pervasive and men are still viewed as the breadwinners of the family. This distorts the expectations young females in Indonesia have of themselves. An environment that discourages ambitious women and has negative perceptions of the economic successes of women is one in which adolescent girls and women will not be able to easily thrive in.
Compared to young men, adolescent girls are expected to take on a disproportionate share of household chores, limiting the time they spend on schoolwork or playing with friends. This can curtail their development of interpersonal skills, chip at their confidence and ultimately put them on a slower track than their male peers.
Women in Indonesia also report having a lack of finance. Due to laws that discriminate against women and limit their ownership rights to property, they have little access to the capital required to start or sustain a business. While there are government grants that have been rolled out to support women’s pursuit of enterprise, over 60% of women report that financial constraints prevent them from starting a business.
Women also state that they have a lack of access to information and do not have the entrepreneurial skills and knowledge to grow their businesses. This could include financial planning, business development and marketing. They also report that they lack the experience to take a successful small business further, by knowing how to sell online and export internationally.
In order for Indonesia to take definitive strides towards progress and prosperity, it needs to ensure women are provided with the right support and adequate resources to build their own businesses.
When women set up and run businesses of their own, they have the potential to build a community of women supporting and inspiring one another. By providing individuals from socially disadvantaged backgrounds with the chance to work, women businesses can also effect positive change in their communities.
Young women state that having a positive role model in their lives is key to enabling success. Liwa Supriyanti, head of international streel trading enterprise, Gunung Prisma, offers young women in Indonesia just that. She drives environmental and social change through her role as director, inspiring young girls and women to believe that becoming a successful business leader is indeed possible. Find out more about Liwa Supriyanti and her motivations behind effecting social change.