Gender Education on Human Rights to create livelihood skills towards Family wellbeing and Gender Equality

Erna Surjadi
Posted May 12, 2015 from Indonesia
At Kranji Village, Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia

Gender Education on Human Rights to create livelihood skills towards Family wellbeing and Gender Equality


Learning is a long life process!Never too late to learn and people are learning for the life time.

In fact from ancient history human were learning and processed their generation through learning over the time; starting from infant, kid, youth, adult, elderly till they died. The main issue is stereotypes and biased culture that lead to biased mindset and practices related to men-women's position and relationship.

Patriarchy culture has put men as number one; and accordingly made women are losing their bargaining power as spouse and partner even to children and elderly in the house. It mostly put girls and women less developed, losing their women's rights including rights to health and social rights; in the biased religion practices they also put women surrounding the domestic arena only; taking care the children, elderly and house chores related. It is meant for family safety, happiness and welfare; however women's health and development are being sacrificed. They forgot that sick women may spread to family's health and reducing the family welfare; while the less developed women may not be the first choice to be mentor and advisor of any kids towards bright family future! Less confident mothers are not good advisors as well to the children; which might end up to 'weak' family development.

Many women from rural areas in Indonesia, Philippines etc were applied as migrant workers abroad. They were mostly doing household chores in houses/ apartments with fewer skills in livelihood environment, although capable in cleaning and cooking. Some of them were trapped into violence against women, violation to regulations, trafficking in persons, being cheated by the mafia and so on. Many women migrant workers Indonesia in Arab Saudi have been waited for death penalty; some of the workers were being deported from Malaysia; got problems in Hongkong etc.

The lack of education, less knowledge on human rights, including their rights as women eventually gave bad impact to them and their family welfare. Many families were shocked for no money sending to the villages to support their family in jumping over poverty line; but the death message they received instead. While the women migrant workers have lost their rights to health and afraid to be harassed by the masters; they apparently don't know they have no right to kill or cut off somebody's life because that is part of human rights given by God only!

In regular family life, very often most women received domestic violence, harassment from the husband, being turned down as women; that end up in Thailand more women have distress compared to men in their life. Both husband and wife mostly forgot the human rights; rights to have choices, voices and being unique as God's created them to be. Nobody is totally alike to each other even the twins; they are preciously created by God (Helping each other, as all religions teach us to do).

Actually in order to support the goals of Family welfare; most men are supporting women's development for livelihood skills. Nobody reject to be happy and having peaceful life. In fact No human has asked to be born; they were born free with dignity and created by God only - that's why every human is precious in God's eyes. We are born by God's will with special purpose; so that we must value the life of everyone. Everybody has freedom and rights as they are equal in God's eyes.

The understanding about human's rights, including women's rights must be inserted into all education starting from early childhood. That's would be the good way of people's learning on proper position and relation of men and women or boys and girls going to be.Gender Harmony (GH) is developed based on respect to human rights to support unity (family welfare) within effective communication. Testimonies noted that many couples after learning about GH could develop their coping mechanism into balance of harmonious living by putting back the respect to each other rights, fulfill it as the best they can and protect the rights within family harmonious life. The livelihood skills is best to cover not only cooking, cleaning and sewing, but also include human rights and effective communication.

GH proved that 56% domestic violence cases were reduced within family life. If one had fight every day, then eventually it could be reduced into alternate days, every four days, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly etc. We can prevent the gender-based violence eventually and eliminate it by learning on GH! (See:; for more queries)

One couple in mid age had story. One day, the husband was feeling weird; he could not remember things and apparently he was easily loosing temper. The days before he was helping his wife and family in hospital due to one of their relatives got sick very badly; he mostly could not sleep well at hospital lounge, tired walking around and exhausted to the situation. Facing the hectic days for him in his fifties was not easy, due to he was retired for couple years already. The wife knew the husband well; she got feeling that the husband might have something wrong in health. She observed for the whole day; and at the end of the day she called their son who got married and stay out of the premises to get advice. They agreed to call Taxi to bring the husband to the clinic; the husband refused and got mad though. However, the wife said that was just checking if he's alright nothing too loose. The examination revealed that the husband had light stroke; and they were so lucky the wife brought him to the 24 hour clinic in time. It could be worse, if it's late!If the wife didn't have enough confident to do the plan and or just be the follower of the husband; then the story would end up differently. They were lucky; they have seed on Gender Harmony. Respect to other's opinion, holding human rights, effective communication and unity towards family wellbeing are modality to develop a healthy, harmony and happy family!

Gender education is needed; most important to bring human rights into people's mindset since early childhood starting when they are boys and girls towards gender partnership between men and women. We can prevent biased perception among boys to girls vice versa; and get proper mindset to build the family life. Our children now are the couples for tomorrow and the future of generation of the nations! It is the basic material to develop the future world we want!

Wise word says: How can you jump if you don't try..?

Other's Experiences is a good teacher, however your experience is a bad one; due to it gave exam before the learning sessions!

"Life isn't about finding yourself; Life is about creating yourself" (George Bernard Shaw - Dramatist (1856 - 1950)

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:31)

Let's start the early gender education on human rights to create gender equality and equity within harmony and family welfare!

God bless...


Comments 4

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Alyssa Rust
May 13, 2015
May 13, 2015

Dear Erna Surjadi,

Thank you so much for sharing. Your post was filled with so much great information and stories. As you mentioned gender education is so important especially in relationships. The story that you shared at the end of your post about how the man went to the clinic because he respected and valued in wife was really great to see that through education and creating a good relationship there are couples who are setting a great example to the rest of society. I think that because the idea of having a patriarchal society is still seen as the best way to build a community it will be hard for women to gain equality. But as we continue to education and speak out we can change the norm and ensure education and equity for all. Thanks again for sharing.

Sincerely, Alyssa Rust 

May 21, 2015
May 21, 2015

Hi Erna,

Thank you for sharing the story. Coming from the same country, I know from the first hand experience how strong the patriarchy culture in Indonesia is. It brings women into an unpleasent situation most of the time because the society expect them to have a less education than men, to be a good housewife instead of working women and to bend over husband. It is so sad because women have the potential to get the best out of them when there is no such repression. However, many Indonesian women do not agree that equality is important for them as they have been very comfortable with the social construction of partriachism. I strongly believe that education is need to enlighted the mind of many Indonesian women that they could reach most of their potential when they view that their position and men are equal.



Erna Surjadi
May 21, 2015
May 21, 2015

Dear Alyssa,

Thanks for your respond; sorry due to certain activities out of town and tight schedule to certain programme I could not write earlier.

Education is a life time long learning! We learn on everything all of the time in our live; to better and better as expected by God!

We were learning as a girl when being a kid; then we are learning to become a wife, mother and grandmother respectively according to our status during our life time. Some people may think it is an automatic process; however smart people know that it is a learning time for a successful life!

We may see those as similar events such as births in family life; however it was a different position and roles we might have. For own kids we had direct access and responsibility to their growth and development in partnership with spouse; however when the grand children born we must realize that the main role is belong to their parents! A harmonious living may be born if we put respect to other's rights, including taking care of their own children and its related education. Neglecting this area may bring some risks to disharmonious living, such as: children's style following to the nanny; children much closer to the granny and or broken heart kids due to the parents were so busy most of the time etc.

Gender equality must be taught in early childhood; starting from the life-models of father and mother or siblings relationship.  Most important part of the harmony process is growing respect; and it could be started since kid's environment and life, continue to youth and adult respectively. Respect may allow you listening other people's opinion, preference and even act. Nobody is perfect; not even a prophet; that's why we need each other to support, to give attention and love, as mandated by God!

I understand from my book-reading even in Al-Quran, Al- Taubah 9:71 it is mentioned that God allows men and women to be helper of the others, become their leaders and being blessed by God.

When knowing that we are 'precious' to God, as He created us with special purposes; then we can put respect accordingly to other people, men and women as creation of God, the Good Lord! Nobody is perfect - to err is human, to forgive is divine!  Thus, respect must be educated from time to time; as the ways forward to get advancement, due to we then easier to share our strength and weaknesses, helping each other, create synergy for peace and harmony!

God bless...

Erna Surjadi
May 21, 2015
May 21, 2015

Dear Olivia,

Greetings in harmony!

We have to admit, whenever gender egalitarian ethos has not become the mission against patriarchy culture implementation; then it is quite difficult to change people's mindset and push the re-orientation of the biased lifestyle that tend to disharmonious living!

Yesterday the President Republic of Indonesia made big and hot news! He selected all women (9) for the Selection Committee to Anti Corruption Commissioner Executives (KPK). As usual there are pro and contra, most men truly surprised, they have lack of courage that the women may select the best candidates except for excellent academic background; even one predecessor of KPK Executives mentioned that would be the signal of the country retreat position even to Armageddon, end of the world is closer! However most women are happy for the President preference to the appointment; they wish all of the appointed women may work as the best they could to select the future Executive of KPK.  All of the appointed women have higher education, frequently show off in the public debate and or public services as well as have noted higher academic qualification.

It is noted that putting women in competition to men is not what God ever wanted. Thus, let the women work to give results that the selection is free from politization, based on integrity of candidates and harmony composition of women and men; not all men or all women!

I’m sorry to hear that in some areas, maybe including your province; many women are less educated; while Indonesia has almost 100% gender equality in the elementary education; it is degradation consecutively in the higher education up to doctoral degree though. Indonesia put specific Law of 9 years since 1994; a must learning school time for boys and girls; however beginning participation might not be followed automatically by complete graduation or zero drop out. Poverty and patriarchy culture implementation are noted as the constraints. Actually many scholarship mostly reserved and given to girls/ women to continuing education through various international channels, likely Embassy and international Education such as IEEF; however either the access to the information is limited and or the families still follow patriarchy culture and or the related government or public services not yet reaching those community/ families. It is noted some informal schools provided by private and or civil society organization for street children, refugee, and poor community and so on. In fact, many Indonesian women noted for their success in several areas; many women started to have small economic activities and become entrepreneur women even in the villages; some young women in the cities started e-commerce in marketing their product of fashion, bags, juices, cakes and so on. Yes some of them showed off their concerns to the patriarchy culture implementation; however they started learning to grow themselves in the equality through social media, personality course, media journalistic etc. In big cities you now can see many young women are working at the petrol station for public services; taking their bike to sell food; and many women also become Executives of Private Companies and in the Government fields. We have now 8 Women Ministers in this new government under the President Joko Widodo for 2014 - 2019! 

GH has been thinking to move forward into gender education through ICT; in order to reaching out people live in isolated, difficult geography, villages and so on.  Culture is made by human; thus everything created by human may be change by human also. To change others you have to change yourself first; thus we have to start first within our family life then only can continue to neighborhood and communities. By learning GH, we know the way to create coping mechanism on respecting others and live in harmony. Temptation may come, due to no day without a problem; however we may not retreat to the previous conditions by will; no educated people forgot totally the knowledge to advancement. We can move on living day by day, learning from time to time to have gender transformation in the new condition, which is better than yesterday and continue to have harmonious living free from violence and poverty!

We pray for a better situation in the country and the world; to change patriarchy culture onto egalitarian ethos. It is hoped that people may learn about human rights, including rights to development and health to get advancement for family, community and nation! Gender education may reorienting the biased culture into new paradigm of gender partnership for family welfare and unity of the nation!

Everything good must end up good, due to God blessed it accordingly! Nothing is impossible in God.

God bless...