Old Challenges, New Strategies: Women, Work, and Family in Contemporary Asia

By Leng Leng Thang; Wei-Hsin Yu | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
GENDERED WORK, MIGRATION, AND SOCIAL
NETWORKS IN TWO VILLAGES IN WEST JAVA
Rachel Silvey1

Introduction

This chapter examines the influence of social networks on the gender divisions of formal and informal workloads in two villages in West Java, Indonesia before and after the country's period of monetary crisis (1995–2000). Specifically, the research examines how social networks have mediated gendered formal and domestic workload patterns among particular individuals, families and communities in the two villages during the period. The recent convergence in Indonesia of political transition and economic retrenchment has altered the context of mobility decisions, employment patterns, and domestic work processes. The repercussions of structural adjustment programmes, currency devaluation, labour market reorganization, and widespread—if temporary—urban flight has restructured migrants' social networks, spatial mobility, and familial divisions of labour. In this chapter, I examine the ways in which communal and familyscale struggles around gender norms have influenced gendered participation in social networks, formal wage work, and domestic workloads.

Early estimates of the impact of Indonesia's fiscal crisis suggested that 10–14 million of the country's 90 million workers would be unemployed, and almost half of the population would fall beneath the official national poverty line (ILO 1998). Later analyses suggest that while the percentage of the population that is in poverty has

____________________
1
This research was made possible by Grant #9911510 from NSF. I am grateful for that support. I also thank Nynke van der Burg, Betsy Olson, and Klara Mezgolits for their research assistance, and our research team from ITB: Niken Laras, Melani Anugrahani, and Indah Susanti, as well as the sponsorship of LIPI and Bapak Heru Purboyo at ITB.

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