Our company was created when one woman in the US saw the potential in one woman in Indonesia. (If you haven’t watched the story about how I Thought of You was created, we encourage you to do so at this link.) These women who lead and stand up for gender equality inspire us, but sometimes there are too many forces working against her to accomplish this change alone.
Education is the driving force behind change so we wanted to share a little more about what a woman’s expected life plan looks like in Indonesia.
The Indonesian family unit is deep-rooted in their society. It consists of the man being the primary breadwinner and the woman taking on all of the responsibilities of the home. If a women chooses to find work outside the home, she is still expected to uphold all household duties. The pay gap between men and women is seen in all sectors of industry and is among the largest in East Asian nations.
The barriers that prevent women from entering the workforce are present, but abstract. Some have described these problems as a “sticky floor” that make it challenging for women to first obtain a job, then to hold and excel in the role. Only around 51% of women in Indonesia participate in a workforce outside of household duties. No matter their situation, women often can only land roles as temporary workers. Women are even more less likely to be hired after they give birth because employers see them as vulnerable, are expected to be absent more often, and will result in a financial burden to the employer.
Recently, laws have been put into place to help correct these discriminatory practices but enforcement of the regulations is not consistent. Studies have shown that opening the door to greater female opportunity could increase workplace productivity by as much as 14% which has tremendous benefit potential for societies as a whole. This could also create measurable improvements in poverty reduction across the nation.
Providing opportunities to women, especially in countries where these jobs are lacking, is one step in the right direction. I Thought of You is proud to work with women in many developing countries to provide consistent work while still allowing the flexibility needed to raise families and tend to their households. Our goal is to shine a spotlight on the benefits of employing women and the value they can bring to society as a whole. Every eco-friendly purchase broadens their opportunity and gives them a voice and a place in their communities.