The Double Burden of Small Business Women

What’s the difference between female and male micro-workers? The difference is, even though the time spent working and the contribution of their income to the family is not small, women are often seen as not working.

Maybe because his work is not clearly visible, aka blind. Not surprisingly, such Small Business Women (PUK) are nicknamed “The Invisible Worker”.

Putting the word “women” in front of “small business” makes us inevitably have to discuss the relationship between women and men. The running of PUK’s business cycle can be closely related to the relationships that occur in the household. Understanding the problems faced by PUK in relation to gender relations then becomes important in order to obtain a complete picture of PUK issues.

It is within this framework that gender analysis is often used to look at the problems faced by PUK. Gender analysis is a perspective that distinguishes between what is called “sex” and “gender”. Sex is the difference between men and women based on biological characteristics that cannot be exchanged; while gender is a socially constructed distinction that is not always attached (Faqih, 1998). Gender differences are not a problem as long as they do not give birth to injustice. However, gender differentiation is proven to have the potential to give rise to gender injustice. Potentially what happens is stereotyping, decision-making, and double-loading.

Stereotypes are labels given to women and men who have been socially constructed. The job of earning a living, for example, is considered a man’s job while taking care of the house and family is a woman’s job. Domestic space, reproductive work, and unpaid work are seen as women’s work. On the other hand, public space, production work and wage work belong to men.

Here, Moore (1988) critically relates to the concept of work. According to Moore (1998) in this capitalist world, there is an assumption that jobs that generate wages/have economic value (production and being in public spaces) are considered work, while jobs that do not generate wages/have no economic value are considered not work. only activity. Therefore, Moore (1988: 15) sharply concludes that women’s work is often invisible (invisible) because women’s involvement is visible in jobs that do not generate wages or are not carried out outside the home (even though they provide income).

Such labeling can also have an impact on PUK’s access and control over their business. In decision making, for example. A clear case regarding women’s access is in business licensing because the important document that must have an “NPWP” is often hampered because of stereotypes that women are not the main breadwinners. The consequences experienced by PUK in the absence of a permit include: (1) not being recorded so that they are considered not contributing to the macro economy, (2) difficulties accessing credit at formal financial institutions, and (3) because it is not recorded, it is not included in trainings or government-provided training.

In the household arena, PUK’s control over their businesses is still weak. The cases presented by ASPPUK (Association of Small Business Women Supporters) show indications that businesses that were originally started by women are then taken over by men (in this case their husbands), especially when these businesses begin to develop or increase. As a result, the role of women who were originally business owners and managers then shifted to being only employees or unpaid workers (Bernighhausen, 2001).

Another example shows a PUK who cannot even decide on the location of his own business. When PUK wanted wider marketing outside the home arena, her husband refused. Her husband only allowed her to do business at home, so that PUK’s access to the market became increasingly narrow, which resulted in the business being engaged in being devoid of buyers and eventually going out of business (Akatiga, 2005).

This labeling also causes when a woman (whose majority of her businesses are motivated by her family’s critical condition and poverty) decides to start a business, it is always followed by the phrase “you can work as long as you don’t forget your household”. As a result, the majority of them experience what is called a double burden. The wife and husband time table shows this. (click here to see table)

The data in the time table shows briefly that the amount of time that PUK allocates for themselves is much less than for their husbands. This means that women spend more time working than men.

Field research conducted by Akatiga in Garut shows this clearly. Maria’s mother, as she calls her name, is an opaque entrepreneur in Garut. He revealed that his work was quite heavy, time-consuming and energy-consuming because he had to work while taking care of his family alone. Her husband, who works as a construction worker or digs wells, only occasionally helps out. According to him, the heavy workload had made his body emaciated. While massaging her chest, Maria’s mother said, “Look Neng, most of the pounding becomes thin like this.”

Even so, Ibu Maria admits that it is impossible to stop her efforts. Why? Because even though his income is small, he can still feel the velocity of money which is important to support his family because he is the main breadwinner. Not her husband.

So, are PUK still considered non-workers?

(Yulia I. Sari, Dyan Widhyaningsih, Deni Mukbar, Tim Usaha Kecil Akatiga)