The Role of Education in Gender Equality in Papua

The Role of Education in Gender Equality in Papua – Gender is the difference between male and female based on culture, wherein men and women are differentiated according to their respective roles constructed by local culture, related to roles, characteristics, positions and duties in the community. However, the problem is that gender differences have created various injustices, both for men and women

Gender equality is an interesting issue to be discussed recently. Moreover during the celebration of International Women’s Day, which was a few months ago precisely on March 8, most of the women activists reminded again the importance of achieving of gender equality in various aspects including the field of work. Currently, International Women’s Day becomes a holiday in 27 countries although only some of them actually celebrate the fighting for women’s rights. During the last 100 years, women in various countries have made a number of advances, especially for labour rights and protection from acts of violence, sexual harassment, access to sexual and reproductive health services, as well as the right to reach the highest leadership positions.

The issue of gender equality is one of the main issues in development, especially in the human resource development. So that in order to encourage, make effective and optimize efforts for Gender mainstreaming in the National Development with an integrated and coordinated manner, the Government of Indonesia issued Presidential Instruction No. 9 of 2000 concerning gender mainstreaming in national development and Permendagri No. 67 of 2011 concerning PUG in the regions.

Current research on gender finds out that gender inequality occurs as a result of the low quality of women’s own resources, and the results, they are in an inability to compete with men. Therefore, efforts are made to educate women and invite them to participate in development. In the reality we encounter in certain societies, there are customs that do not support and even prohibit the participation of women in formal education.

There is even a value which states that “women don’t need to have a high education because of in the end, they will just serve in the kitchen.” There is also an assumption that a girl should marry quickly so as not to become an old maiden. Or in modern times like today, many people still think according to the Javanese idiom which identifies women only to service in three places, namely the kitchen, the well, and the bed.  A paradigm like this is what causes women to fall into and are looked down upon by men.

However, in Indonesia there are several problems regarding improving the quality of human resources for women in formal education in order to compete with men and especially for the Regional Government of Papua Province with a governmental area that consists of mostly isolated areas with limited access to transportation and information due to geographical conditions in Papua.

For example, educational facilities that are difficult to reach. Many elementary schools (SD) exist in each sub-district, but for further education levels such as Junior and Senior High School, the number is not a lot, even university is not in each district available. So that many students have to travel long distances to reach it or leave their hometown to be able to pursue higher education. In a traditional society, parents generally feel reluctant to send their daughters to distant schools, because of they are worried about their welfare. Therefore, many girls are forced to stay at home. This is not to mention yet the burden of household duties which are mostly borne by girls. The accumulation of these factors results in many girls leaving school.

The gender gap in education must also be eliminated in the learning process in schools. For example, arranging the student seats, arranging the ranks, conducting the ceremonies, student organization leaders, class leaders, etc. This is to eliminate the gender gap in the learning process in schools where the gender construction is usually dominated by men.

I urge all of us to support every woman / woman to have the same rights as men. But we also have to build awareness that women / women are obliged to improve their quality in education and career planning on an equal position with men. Indonesia’s development must start from Papua. Let’s start by building quality Papuan women’s human resources so that they can take an active role in all aspects of development in Papua.

Author: Vetaroy (ASN at the Representative of BKKBN Papua Province).

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