Female-Headed Households

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Challenges faced and Remedies by the program

The establishment of these female-headed households faced a few challenges. The female heads faced a range of gender-based discriminations and harmful practices. The Indonesian Marriage Law which legalizes only men to head families was a major barrier to the establishment of this new system. Due to the existence of that section of the law, the women family heads had difficulty accessing government-owned facilities for the less fortunate such as the denial of access to money transfer systems and community-based health insurance services. Divorce through court was also another barrier as expensive fees were involved for the women to access their marriage certificates and birth certificates to effect the process. Consequently, access to divorce compensation rights and funds was restricted. 

In recent times, the Indonesian National Strategy on Access to Justice has insisted on the importance of enhancing the access of important services and facilities to the marginalized and poor individuals through the implementation of non-discriminatory policies and mitigation actions against such, as well. To achieve this, the organization has outlined the discovery of fundamental preconditions vital in the quest for legal assistance. Among these fundamental preconditions are; the automatic provision of obligatory services at a free or affordable charges to accommodate the justice needs of the less fortunate and the poor; provision of a fair platform devoid of discrimination based on poverty, to enable the poor to adequately fight for and defend their constitutionally provided rights. These provisions can be further ensured through the exercising of rights equality before the government and the law. There is also need to ensure that there are no obstructions to access of justice for the poor. The enactment of these provisions would ensure that the challenges that faced the female household heads are eliminated to allow them to access their rights to empowerment (Familycourt.gov.au, 2010).

Aware of the challenges associated with the first process of assisting women to walk out of their vulnerability to the societal systems, in the year 2011, PEKKA collaborated with another innovative technology organization, Kopernik to help the situation further. The second plan collaboration was aimed at assisting women living in rural areas to access and adopt the use of green technology commission earning after sales of the green technology products. This project provided the women with an alternative means to earn stabilized income and gain skills as entrepreneurs and businesswomen. The products included solar light, fuel-efficient stoves, and water filters. 

A survey by students of Columbia University revealed the excitement of the women at how their lives have greatly improved by the PEKKA-Kopernik partnership program of innovative and green technology. The women who were engaged in the program have gained important skills in sales and communication and the use of modern technology. These skills have given them a competitive advantage in the labor market since they are not only important to the program but are also applied to the women in other areas of work. A significant number of the women (40 percent) experienced income gains over a period of just six months (Nawilis, 2012).

Improving Female Participation in the Labor Market

Various economies should be actively engaged in increasing the awareness of the legality of the right to equality treatment. This has not been fairly exercised in most of the OECD countries. Such awareness can be done through awareness information rallies and campaigns conducted by several bodies. There should be the provision of the right kinds of incentives. National bodies advocating for gender equality should be empowered in these countries to affirm their roles and contribution towards ensuring that their mandate is affirmed within the country for economic gains. These organizations should be allowed to conduct an investigation on their account and in a formal way. 

Alternate mechanisms for resolution should also be adopted to ensure legal rights and affairs are fairly solved without much involvement into costly court procedures. Various policies and measures can be undertaken to increase the participation of women in the labor market. Such action can ensure far-reaching implications starting from the places of work of the females to the industry and the country’s GDP per capita. The IMF recommends several measures on the same.

A major way is through the provision of an avenue for equal access and exploitation of employment opportunities that could help in discovering of the female’s full potential and appropriate ways to convert the potential to beneficial output. Such an action ensures potentially significant economic growth and the enhancement of the general welfare of the female gender. This action can be brought to effect through the design of a comprehensive design of appropriate policies that could improve the women’s access and participation in the economic opportunities.

Various fiscal policies that strengthen the connection between the supply of labor and income can be used to this effect. The fiscal policies can be used to effect reforms useful in boosting equal gender opportunities and wipe out disproportionalities in employment. 

The introduction of individual income taxation in place of family income taxation is one of the methods recommended by the IMF to help boost female labor participation. As indicated through empirical studies, the female labor supply’s responsiveness to taxation is higher than the males’. A reduction of the taxation on the secondary earners (females mostly) would benefit through engagement of more females in the labor market. This has been done in several countries including Portugal, France, and the United States.

An economy can also improve female involvement in labor supply through efficiently crafted family support schemes. Well, compensated parental leave schemes can ensure that the women laborers have ample time to catch up with their family and work responsibilities. This could help them keep up with the need and access to the labor market by an insured return to work formula. Most countries with an advanced economy offer an average of twenty-six weeks of paid parental leave. All the OECD countries offer this payment except for the United States.

Availability of affordable, better, comprehensive and high-quality child-care facilities and services is also vital to the freeing up of the mother’s time to enable them to indulge into formal employment. A reduction in the child care facility prices could enhance the involvement of younger mothers in the labor market. Even for those at work, such improved care for their young ones could help improve their concentration on their work responsibilities.

Emerging and developing economies are also urged to invest in the education of women and improvement of infrastructure especially in the rural areas. Only about 17 percent of the illiterate female population is involved in the labor market compared to the 70 percent of degree holders. In Indonesia, 12.79 percent of   the Indonesian women are illiterate. Provision of incentives aimed at boosting the education of the girl-child should also be considered. Bangladesh and Cambodia adopted a system where the government remitted money incentives to families who had their daughters in school. Boosting of the rural infrastructure through the provision of clean water; energy technology; and roads, reduce the time the female spends on carrying out certain chores and activities; leaving ample time for personal development.

A level playing field for both genders should be established through the removal of labor market obstruction and discrimination against the female. Sectorial and occupational based limitations and restrictions should be cleared to ensure that the females approach the labor market with confidence and hope for an equal absorption into the labor market based on experience, skills, and ability for the job on offer.

 Contribution of Women Participation to GDP

The UN Women, a female advocacy organ of the United Nations attributes a relatively high employment of women and reduction in the employment gender gaps; through increased female labor participation to faster growth in a country’s economy. According to the organization's study, increasing the amount of a household income in direct control by the female may result in a positive expenditure mainly beneficial to the household members. The income can be obtained by the females either through direct money transfers or their earnings. Women continue to exploit the labor market every day despite the challenges involved. In Indonesia, the women 33.5 percent of the women are involved in informal jobs to ensure the survival of their families. The global working female to population ratio stands at about 48 percent compared to the males 72.2 percent. Their global payment schemes are also not favorable with women earning an average salary that makes about only between 60 percent and 75 percent of their male counterparts’ salaries (Mallick and Rafi, 2010).

The full engagement of women could be beneficial to the global economy as it could increase it up to the 75 percent mark a deviation equivalent to approximately 17 trillion US dollars. It has been observed that the inclusion of women in a company’s leadership and managerial positions leads to an increase in the effectiveness of operation within the organization. This is a fate that can be easily translated into the national economy scene, given that it is the companies that make up the industry and the industry defines the economic status of a nation. 

Women also contribute largely to the essential agricultural industry globally. They consist of a majority of the global agricultural workforce (43 percent), with variations in various regions of the world. This, therefore, means that they are responsible for about a greater percentage of the world’s household’s provision of food. The study indicates their contribution between 85 and 90 percent. Given an opportunity even for equal land ownership and food production rights, these figures could be on a remarkable rise and impact the global economy with much significance.

Women education and training are also important to the growth the global economy. Educated women hold better chances of bearing children at the right age as well as the proper knowledge to take care of them appropriately, avoiding infant diseases and infant mortality. The UNDP indicates that Indonesia’s maternity mortality rates stands at a wanting 373 per a hundred thousand live births. Diseases prevention and even more, treatment are a major concern for governments’ expenditure. When well-educated and employed women are at the helm of our households, there are better ways of disease prevention and minimized expenditures on the treatment of preventable infections. (UN Women, 2016)

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sheldon

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