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Women and income generating projects: the gender impacts of Indonesian government policies

Prihatinah, Tri Lisiani (2005) Women and income generating projects: the gender impacts of Indonesian government policies. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Gender inequality and poverty are two serious problems for developing countries where the majority of women have been victims of the cultural, socio-economic, political, and environmental impacts of development. The gender dimension of poverty focuses on the dilemma of women, their multiple roles as women and their roles in alleviating poverty. The literature on women and poverty abounds with numerous cases and other evidence of women's vulnerability and heavier economic and socio-cultural burden of poverty. Women are also known to be discriminated against in terms of economic safety, lack of basic needs support, work access, opportunities, and payment. Despite these factors, women have a greater sense of responsibility and are more accountable towards sustaining programs designed to alleviate poverty among the poor. In Indonesia, as elsewhere in the world, micro-credit is being used as a major vehicle which serves women for improving their wellbeing, reduce vulnerability, and also as a starter point to empower women. Using findings drawn from a study on the

Indonesian Government policies and the implementation of two particular micro-credit schemes, namely Tabungan Kesejahteraan Rakyat (Takesra) and Kredit Keluarga Sejahtera (Kukesra). This thesis explores the two basic and especially important issues of poverty and women empowerment. Firstly, it views poverty within gender and sustainability perspectives, and secondly, evaluates the impacts of the micro-credit schemes under Takesra and Kukesra. The thesis argues that poverty reduction among women is consistent with the concept of gender and development which is particularly reinforced within the sustainability agenda. The conditions to do so, however, have internal and external constraints strongly manifested in the operation of the micro-credit schemes. The evidence from the empirical research conducted in three districts of Central Java, Indonesia - namely Brebes, Purbalingga and Cilacap - shows the first type of constraints to refer to weaknesses of the schemes themselves, such as incomplete and misdirected indicators for success, small size of available loans and long duration of repayment terms. The second refers to the socio-economic aspects of sustainability, including the economic conditions which do not allow market access to poor women and cultural manipulations which result in overburdens to women. Both diminish the role of the schemes as a poverty solution.

From the analysis and lessons learned from best practices in other countries, it is suggested that the Indonesian Government policies need to be refocuses in order to deal with the internal and external constraints and allow for an advance to be achieved in poverty alleviation and women empowering. The Takesra and Kukesra schemes in a revised form based on the developed new model for micro-credit delivery, should continue to play a role in providing credit to poor women to encourage skill development and capacity building, support the process of women empowerment and potentially contribute towards a more sustainable society.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy
United Nations SDGs: Goal 5: Gender Equality
Supervisor(s): Marinova, Dora
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