Funding provided by AusAID Australian Development Research Award
In August 2007, the UN praised Indonesia for the promulgation of Law No 21/2007 on Human Trafficking, Law No 12/2006 on Citizenship (children from Indonesian mothers whose fathers are non-citizens have the right of dual citizenship until they reach 18 years old), and Law No 23/2004 on Domestic Violence. Nevertheless, development does not yield equal benefits for women and men. Important government positions and parliamentary membership are still strongly dominated by men. The incidence of violence against women and sexual harassment and crimes against women and the girl child remain high. Gender gaps in education and wages persist and there are many laws that contain disadvantageous gender biases. An important new consideration is the rise of fundamentalist Islam and its impact on young people and the implementation of Syariah law restricting women's mobility in more than 56 districts in Indonesia.
The formal education system (K-12 curricula) provides an excellent opportunity to promote gender equality and reproductive health and rights among the rising generations. Integration of an understanding of gender equality into school curricula would directly address the inequitable values being supported by the conservative forces of fundamentalist religion and patriarchal value systems. There have been many small-scale research and case studies on gender in Indonesia but none have attempted to link research directly with the promotion of progressive curricula for primary and secondary schools nationwide. Investment in gender equality, particularly in education and health, can yield some of the highest returns of all development investments.
Dr Iwu Utomo was the lead investigator of a team of researchers from the Australian National University, the Islamic State University (Jakarta), and Hassanudin University (South Sulawesi). The study was divided into two phases. The first phase evaluated core school books used in primary and secondary school and analysed whether the material provided was gender sensitive and whether any of the books included information on reproductive health issues. The second phase involved a survey of school students to ascertain their level of understanding of gender issues and reproductive health as well as in-depth interviews with policy makers, program implementers, school teachers, parents and NGO activists on these issues.
Throughout both phases, government institutions responsible for gender and reproductive health issues were contacted and included in the research process developemnt.
The outcome of this research was gender-sensitive curriculum design materials that can be integrated into the national and local curricula for primary and secondary education.
Utomo, I. D., McDonald, P., Reimondos, A., Utomo, A., & Hull, T. H. (2013). Do primary students understand how pregnancy can occur? A comparison of students in Jakarta, West Java, West Nusa Tenggara and South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Sex Education, (ahead-of-print), 1-15.