Gender equality deals with equal relations between males and females, especially in the context of treatment, access and opportunities in different fields of life and society.
Take for example the lack of gender equality and limitations in entering certain fields both for males and females. In a professional world we often underestimate males who are active in fashion or the culinary profession or look askance at females who are involved in mining or the automotive sector.
Dr. Niken Savitri, SH MCL, a lecturer in the Faculty of Law at Parahyangan Catholic University (FH Unpar) who is a member of the Asosiasi Pengajar Hukum dan Gender Indonesia / the Indonesian Gender and Law Educator Association said that gender equality in education represents gender equality in society at large. Every field of education has to be open as wide as possible for both male and female, without distinction.
Gender inequality is closely related to discrimination, both de jure and de facto. In her opinion, de jure discrimination in education context is closely related to the regulations that differentiate between male and female in entering certain fields. De jure (legally) there is no gender discrimination in education as every citizen has the right to enjoy an education, as stated in the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia.
Unfortunately, de facto (factually), people have differing perceptions that females and males are intrinsically different, so there are certain fields that are only suitable for female and others for male. For example, female is more suitable for literature or social fields, and male in engineering and science.
Looking at the assumptions, we can say that gender inequality stems from culture, especially in a patriarchal society. Hence, the issue to reconstruct the perspective and mindset toward the issue of gender has to be examined and explored; one of them is through education.
The Education World
Parahyangan Catholic University (Unpar) is one of the educational institutions that appreciate gender equality. This appreciation is reflected in Unpar policies to see males and females with equal potential and opportunity in education.
Gender as a cultural construct and society’s perception need to be reconstructed. This can be achieved through formal education such as the one offered at Unpar, through subjects offered (Hukum Hak Asasi Manusia / Human Rights Law and in the Faculty of Philosophy with the feminism course), or other co-curricular and extra-curricular activities that can hopefully open the minds of Unpar students.
The existence of Pusat Studi Gender / the Center for Gender Studies in the Research and Community Service Institute (LPPM) Unpar is a strategic effort and a place for education to better understand gender equality.
This “vessel”/place is not meant for only lecturers but also students and employees to accommodate thoughts as well as to give and share knowledge and experience. Therefore, students can appreciate themselves and others including females, as a valuable, precious and potential resource. These are the values that need to be awakened in every individual including females.
To quote Niken, the main issue lies in society’s stigma on gender. Therefore, Unpar will participate in forming supportive perceptions of the female potential. Ideally, every program policy, planning and evaluation has to incorporate the gender mainstream so that every program will be influential and meaningful for gender equality as well as improving the female potential.
Source: Kompas – Griya Ilmu (Tuesday, April 12th 2016), “Kesetaraan Gender dalam Dunia Pendidikan”.