The Gender Pay Gaps in Indonesia

6 min read|Last Updated: Januari 18, 2023|
What’s in this article

The wage gap, which reflects a lack of equal pay, adversely affects female employees in Indonesia. Women earn much less than do men in most of the country’s companies and industries.

Definition of the Wage Gap

The wage gap is a statistic which is primarily used to measure women’s earnings relative to those of men in any particular nation. The wage gap can be used to compare the earnings of women against those of men so that any instances of wage discrimination can be discovered.

Gender Wage Gap in Indonesia

According to the Gender Development Index of the United Nations, the average man who works in Indonesia earns approximately US$14,385 every year, while the average woman earns approximately US$7,259 every year. This means that the average man in Indonesia is paid 98.2% more than is the average woman.

One possible reason is misogyny of male employers which leads them to act in a discriminatory manner against their female employees. However, some experts believe that the pay gap does not necessarily imply that women are paid lesser than men because of discrimination but because there are lesser women working at higher-paying positions, which resulted in a lower average salary.

However, the wage gap in Indonesia is narrower than those of several other notable countries. Some countries with a larger wage gap include:

  • Turkey at 120.3%
  • South Korea at 118.4%
  • Bosnia at 105.3%

Industries with the Largest Gender Wage Gaps in Indonesia

Different industries will have different wage gaps, some depends on the number of women in more senior positions or the technicality of the jobs in which women are prevalent. Certain industries, however, are known for having larger wage gaps than others.

The industry with the largest gender wage gap in Indonesia is the financial industry. This includes:

  • Insurance companies
  • Banks
  • Other financial institutions

Other industries with notable gender wage gap in Indonesia are:

  • Civil service in Indonesia
  • Law
  • Engineering
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Healthcare

One major problem lies in the fact that even in companies in Indonesia which are mostly staffed by women, the gender wage gap is still extremely evident. This is because even though such companies primarily employ women, most of the senior positions in the company as well as the industry in general are typically held by men instead of women. This causes the average wage paid to men who work in Indonesia higher than the average wage of their female counterparts.

How Women’s Organizations Have Been Addressing the Gender Wage Gap in Indonesia

The women’s organisations of Indonesia have been at the forefront to fight for the gender equality in the country. Such is also true with regard to gender equality in the workplace. Therefore, these organisations have continued to fight for gender equality and equal employment opportunities for all women in the country.

It is only fair that men and women alike who work at the same company under the same conditions and functions are earn the same amount of money without any wage disparity. As such is not the case in Indonesia, women’s organisations must advocate for equality in wages received by women.

1. Equal chances of promotions

Equal chances of promotions ensure that the women have equal chances as those of men with regard to pay raises through promotions. When there are equal chances for women and men to occupy higher managerial positions, the wage parity of the company will increase. A company with similar numbers of women and men in higher-ranking positions will thus have a reduced wage gap.

2. Number of female employees in the company

There are companies which do not employ as many women as do others. Hence, the women’s organisations have advocated for the two-thirds gender rule. This rule states that no more than two-thirds of the employees in a given company should be men.

This will in turn cause more women to be hired to positions which allow them to be paid just as much as their male counterparts, reducing the gender wage gap in Indonesia. However, some employers harbour misogynistic sentiments.

3. Gender stereotypes

Also, there are some gender stereotypes where some companies incorrectly believe that women are not fit to work in certain jobs. This erroneous notion that there are certain industries and companies in which women should not work is frequently challenged by the women’s organisations of Indonesia. The lack of female employees in such companies exacerbates gender wage gap in Indonesia.

How the Government Addressed the Gender Wage Gap in Indonesia

The Indonesian government understands that there is a gender wage gap in Indonesia which needs to be addressed. They recognise that the contributions of women to the country’s economy serve as a significant boost to the country’s economy. Therefore, the government has attempted to reduce the wage gap in several different ways.

1. Setting up their own business

The government encourages women to engage in business activities which they are able to manage, or even start their own business in Indonesia. This raises the overall salary and thus increases the average wages received by women in Indonesia.

2. Providing equal opportunities

The government has also begun to offer equal opportunities to women in the civil service as well as equal pay for those working in the same industry with the same level and duties. The Indonesian government has thus been attempting to narrow the gender wage gap of the country.

3. Creating female-friendly laws

The government has created laws which enable women to work and comfortably take maternity leave when needed. It is necessary for women who work in Indonesia to work in favourable conditions. Doing so will improve their performance on the job and thus allow them to avoid suffering any premature termination of their work duties.

The Indonesian government advocates for female workers to ensure that gender equality is upheld in all of the country’s industries and companies. It has been working to keep pace with the rest of the world in the eradication of gender discrimination and to ensure that the rights of Indonesia’s female employees to equal pay is fulfilled, though such has to date proven to be contrary to the reality of the situation.


Gender discrimination and the wage gap are not only important issues in Indonesia. They are global problems which must be solved appropriately. Therefore, the Indonesian government must work together with companies and industries to find better ways to reduce the gender wage gap by creating laws that benefits Indonesia’s female employees. In this way, not only would gender equality in the workplace be promoted, but the country’s economy would also reap many benefits.


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The Wage Gap in Indonesia FAQs

How powerful is the glass ceiling in Indonesia?2020-04-02T16:44:31+08:00

The glass ceiling is fairly powerful in Indonesia. This is evidenced by the fact that women in Indonesia seldom take a leading managerial position compared to their male counterparts with similar qualifications. Such is especially true in the private sector. Today, women in Indonesia occupy approximately a quarter of all managerial positions in the country, thus providing evidence of the strength of the glass ceiling in Indonesia.

How prevalent is gender discrimination in Indonesian workplaces?2020-04-02T16:44:16+08:00

The most prevalent form of gender discrimination in the average Indonesian is gender-based violence. Many women in Indonesian workplaces face challenges in this area on a frequent basis. Some incidents of gender discrimination go unreported while others come to public notice. Some other forms gender discrimination include physical assault or violence, sexual harassment, payment below minimum wage in some informal sectors, and even demands for sexual favors for money. These are several of the ways in which women in an Indonesian workplace might face gender discrimination which their male counterparts who work in similar conditions will not usually face.

How does Indonesia’s wage gap compare to those of other countries?2020-04-02T16:42:47+08:00

The pay gap in Indonesia is relatively large; the average man working in Indonesia earns almost twice the amount earned by his female counterpart. According to the Gender Development Index of the United Nations, other countries with a similar income ratio between men and women when compared to that of Indonesia include Cuba, Argentina, Tajikistan, and Fiji.

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