Kudus, Jateng (ANTARA) - The Manpower Ministry is optimistic of closing the wage gap between male and female workers, though the provision for gender-based wages is not stipulated in the regulations, the ministry's Special Staff, Hindun Anisah, stated.

"We are also keen to increase the level of women's participation at work, because so far the participation rate of the female workforce reaches only 53 percent and is still less than that of male workers, with the percentage reaching 80 percent," Anisah noted at the Forum Group Discussion (FGD) on Increasing the Participation of Female Workers on Monday.

The low participation of women at work is related to culture and community views. Several polemics still linger concerning women at work, thereby making it one of the challenges that should be addressed, Anisah added.

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In fact, the highest poverty rate was observed among women, as they did not have an income in addition to a structure and culture that did not support them to earn an income, she pointed out.

The Ministry of Manpower already has in place several programs to increase women's participation at work and provide additional income to women, especially those keen to become entrepreneurs.

"The Ministry of Manpower has a unit tasked with increasing female workers in the work sector," Anisah expounded.

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Anisah later explained that in Kudus District, the number of female workers was quite large, but their qualities still need to be recognized. Once they receive equal recognition at work, their position can be strengthened to occupy the middle to upper positions.

Anisah vowed to immediately follow up on the varied inputs from FGD participants and coordinate with the relevant ministries. The Ministry of Manpower has issued a circular regarding workers in the informal sector or for domestic workers.

Chairman of the Indonesian Entrepreneurs Association (APINDO) in Kudus, Bambang Sumadiyono, stated that companies in Kudus have given women workers the same rights as men, including no difference in wages received.

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Translator: Akhmad N, Resinta S
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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