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'Rather than make trouble, it's better just to leave': behind the lack of industrial strife in the Tangerang region of West Java.

Mather C
In: Women, work and ideology in the Third World, edited by Haleh Afshar. London, England, Tavistock Publications, 1985. 153-80.

This chapter discusses the difficulties workers face in organizing resistance, by examining life in the communities surrounding the factories--the immediate social environment in Indonesia. In 1972, the Indonesian government announced that Jakarta was full and began encouraging industries to move out into the city's hinterlands. The 3 neighboring villages in this survey appeared largely rural at the end of the 1970s, although industrial development was already a dominant force influencing all aspects of social, economic, and political life there. Like women in other areas of Java, the women of Kelompok have traditionally sought incomes at one time or another outside the household. Women in this and probably most other parts of Java are dependent upon men in that all women must marry. An average age for 1st marriage of girls is just over 15, but men marry later at an average age of 20.5 years. 22% of marriages reported by Serpong women end in divorce. It is upon childbearing that women gains her full social identity. By recruiting young people, especially young girl, from the hamlets of Kelompok into the factories, the industrial capitalists are able to make use of the traditional forms of subordination of women to men, and youth to age, to create a labor force that is cheap and relatively easy to dominate. In these Kelompok villages there are now many migrants who have been attracted by the prospect of jobs. The presence of many young migrants will influence future changes in social relations in these villages. Marriages to outsiders are now quite common; over time this is likely to lead to increased mobility in the search for jobs. Overall, the subordination of women as daughters, wives, and mothers has been reinforced; to establish a labor force that is cheap and docile, the managers of the industrial capital invested in these villages have allied themselves with the Islamic patriarchs there.

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