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Development planning for women in the Indonesian transmigration program

Dawson, Gaynor (1990) Development planning for women in the Indonesian transmigration program. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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Since the 1970s there has been concern expressed about the consequences for Third World women of economic development programs. This thesis considers the implications for women of policy and planning in the transmigration program, a resettlement scheme which has been an important element of the Indonesian government's development strategy. The discussion centres on the conventional procedures and practices of transmigration planning; the nature of projects designed specifically for transmigrant women; and the significance of the recent stress on 'the role of women' in transmigration policy.

Although planners involved with the mainstream facets of transmigration planning claim to treat men and women equally, analysis of their routine procedures shows that women are often discriminated against and their special interests neglected. On the other hand, planners in women's sections within the planning bureaucracy are engaged in designing and implementing a number of projects aimed specifically at assisting transmigrant women. However, these projects are typically small-scale with low budgets, offering participants meagre and uncertain benefits. Their common strategy has been to provide skills training in areas which are overwhelmingly domestic-centred and subsistence-oriented in contrast to the stress in mainstream planning on more highly valued, male-dominated export crop production.

In the mid 1980s, disquiet with low productivity in the settlements and the failure of many transmigrant families to sustain themselves, has led to an upsurge of interest among policy-makers in the potential productive contribution of transmigrant women who are viewed as an 'untapped human resource'. An outcome of the belief that women's labour could be better utilised is the greater involvement of mainstream planners in designing projects for women and collecting data about their 'roles'.
The thesis argues that as transmigrant women have become a target of current development planning in Indonesia, they are being drawn into a new, essentially one-directional relationship with state and development agency bureaucracies which seek to harness their productive capabilities, although the underlying causes of the inequitable social relationships in which they are situated are not addressed. The thesis maintains that, in fact, the bureaucratic practices and conceptual frameworks which are applied in transmigration planning work to disempower women and compound their subordination both to men and the state.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Humanities
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Warren, Carol
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