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    Life Situations of Young Fathers in Greater Jakarta

    Iwu Dwisetyani Utomo, Anna Reimondos, Ariane J. Utomo

    Peter McDonald, Terence H. Hull,


    Very little is known about the fatherhood experiences of young men in Indonesia. This paper

    uses the 2010 Greater Jakarta Transition to Adulthood Survey to describe the lives of young

    fathers in Jakarta, Bekasi and Tangerang. It demonstrates how education determines

    parenthood status among men and women, and compares and contrasts the labour market

    experience of young fathers and mothers. This provides the background for a review of

    young parents health and wellbeing, their attitudes towards gender roles and children. Young

    adults in the Indonesian capital are delaying marriage and childbirth, but those who do

    become parents at an early age are likely to follow a male breadwinner model, with fathers

    holding less egalitarian attitudes towards gender roles than either their partners or males who

    are not fathers.

    Key words: fatherhood; young adults; work, gender roles, Indonesia.

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    While interest in researching fatherhood began in the 1970s and 80s (Elster, 1986; Marsiglio,

    Amato, Day & Lamb, 2000) it still lags far behind that on motherhood (Eggebeen and

    Koester, 2001; Goldsheider and Hogan, 1999; Smyth and Weston, 2003). This may seem

    reasonable considering the contrast between the biological implications of childbirth and

    infant care for women, but in light of the important roles men are expected to play in modern

    childcare, domestic management and pursuit of livelihood, research on fatherhood over time

    become of greater interest to social researchers (Marsiglio, Amato, & Lamb, 2000). Earlier

    studies on fatherhood have highlighted that fatherhood is a social construction, in that the

    roles and expectations of father can change overtime and are culturally specific (LaRossa,

    1997; Pleck and Pleck, 1997). Nevertheless in the twentieth century, studies on fatherhood

    mostly focused on white middle-class (LaRossa, Gordon, Wilson, Bairan & Jaret, 1991) and

    there were limited understanding of the complexity of fatherhood by ethnicity, race, cultural

    and economic background (Burton & Snyder, 1998; Marsiglio, Amato & Lamb, 2000: 1175).

    Internationally the male breadwinner model, with its strong definition of a

    father/husband/household-head role for the male, has declined over the course of the

    Twentieth Century. As Perry-Jenkins and Turner (2004:155) noted for the United States: "In

    1920, 75% of working households were composed of single-earner, married couples, and

    dual-earner, married households made up only approximately 9% of working familiesThe

    latest data from the Bureau of Labour Statistics (2001) indicated that 63.2% of all married

    couples with children under 18 are dual-earner, and 57.9% of all married couples with

    children under 6 are dual-earners". In urban Indonesia at the turn of the twenty-first century

    over half of all couples followed a single male breadwinner pattern (I. Utomo, 2005).

    However education has a major impact on employment of women. If both husband and wife

    were tertiary educated, 53 percent were both employed outside the home, while if neither had

    tertiary degrees less than a third were dual earners (A. Utomo 2008: 63,65).

    Despite the increase in dual earner households around the world, many studies both in the US

    and other developed countries reveal that men maintain low levels of involvement in

    domestic duties and child care (Apparala, Reifman & Munsch, 2003; Guant, 2006; Baxter et

    al., 2008; Craig and Bittman, 2008; Portman and Van Der Lippe, 2009). According to these

    sources the increasing involvement of women and mothers in the public sphere is not

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    balanced by males and fathers contributing more of their time to domestic work and


    The lack of attention to fatherhood roles is notable in developing countries, where such

    research is very limited. For example, a very comprehensive book on Growing up global:

    the changing transitions to adulthood in developing countries (Lloyd, 2005) dedicated one

    section on the transition to parenthood, but the analysis was very general and focused largely

    on motherhood. Part of the problem is the lack of data on fatherhood (Lloyd, 2005:506-76).

    Fatherhood can be defined as a fertility status and as the behaviour and identity of men who

    have children (Pleck, 2007:196). Fatherhood research is expected to include fathers

    engagement, accessibility and responsibility; paternal warmth, support and control; and the

    economic support provided by men (Pleck & Stueve, 2001).

    In Indonesia, the traditional roles of fathers and mothers are strongly divided between public

    and domestic roles. Women and especially mothers are trained to be responsible for domestic

    duties, household management and the caring and nurturing of children (I. Utomo, 2005),

    while men and fathers to be good providers for the family. These traditional roles are

    promoted through the national schooling curriculum and exemplified in textbooks used in

    primary and secondary schools (I. Utomo et al., 2009). Though the breadwinner model

    persists throughout Indonesian social groups, womens increasing education levels mean that

    mothers increasingly participate in the labour market and contribute to the household

    economy. McDonald (2000a and 2000b) stated that gender equality is spreading through the

    public sphere but this is not always matched with greater gender equality in the domestic


    In Islam, the religion of almost 90 per cent of Indonesian citizens, the father is accorded the

    status of imam, the leader or head of the household (Surah Annisa, verse no. 34). He is

    obliged to provide economically and is responsible for the overall wellbeing of his family, a

    role endowed with a great deal of autonomy. By contrast women are taught to obey their

    fathers and later their husbands, implying that they are always dependent on a man. In the

    interpretation of many Islamic scholars, men have full authority in ruling womens lives.

    Messages to this effect are strongly promoted through early-morning homilies broadcast by

    both radio and television across the country. Traditionally a Moslem father is portrayed as

    someone with power over all family members and he should have their unquestioning

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    respect. He should be served by the wife in particular, but also by all dependent family


    However, the fatherhood role in Indonesia is in the process of transformation. There is a

    growing message in the secular press and among reformist Islamic scholars that fathers

    should be actively serving others (Yulindrasari & McGregor 2011). The father is enjoined to

    help with infant and child care-giving and development; assisting his wife during pregnancy;

    during the process of delivery; and after the birth. He is expected to spend quality time with

    his children, contributing to their education and their broader socialization. This may entail

    contributions of time to the preparation of meals and maintenance of the household. Popular

    publications are increasingly discussing the need for fathers to be domesticated (Poerwandari,

    2010). This may pose some challenges for Islamic interpretations of fatherhood roles, and it

    definitely presents alternative images for the roles fathers play in the Indonesian family. But

    can fathers be successful in fulfilling their work aspirations while at the same time increasing

    their involvement in nurturing of children? This is classically the dilemma that has been seen

    to prevent womens advancement in the labour market, so would it put men under similar


    This paper aims to explore young fathers living in Jakarta, Bekasi and Tangerang, the

    northern strip of the Jakarta megalopolis. Several dimensions of young fathers lives are

    examined including psychological and physical health, family involvement, work

    involvement and values on gender roles and children.


    In this paper we focus on young fathers, who are defined as men aged 20-34 years who had

    fathered at least one child. Data are drawn from the 2010 Jakarta Young Adults Survey,

    which asked questions relating to social characteristics, attitudes and values and was

    administered face-to-face by trained interviewers.

    The survey used a two-stage cluster sample. In the first stage, 60 urban village units

    (Kelurahan) were selected using probability proportionate to size (PPS) criteria. In the

    second stage five neighbourhoods (Rukun Tetangga/RT) were chosen from each Kelurahan

    by systematic random sampling (SRS). The resulting 300 RT were mapped and a census was

    conducted in them to gather information on age, sex, marital status and relationship to head

    of household for all households. The census allowed the compilation of full lists of young

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    adults aged 20-34 living in each RT. Eleven eligible respondents were then selected from

    each list using simple random sampling, yielding 3,300 names with the aim of achieving a

    sample of 3,000 after accounting for refusals and non-contacts. In total 3,006 interviews were

    successfully completed.


    The data were analysed using descriptive bivariate analysis as well as multivariate regression

    analysis. The main objective was to examine how fathers differed in their characteristics and

    attitudes from three other groups of respondents: childless men, mothers and childless

    women. By comparing fathers with these groups it would be possible to see whether a

    particular response to a variable was related to parenthood per se (in which case mothers and

    fathers would have similar response patterns and childless men and women would have a

    different pattern), to gender differences (in which case men in general would have different

    views to women, regardless of parent status), or if one particular group, such as fathers,

    appeared to differ from all other groups. For the descriptive bivariate analyses, sex and parent

    status were cross-tabulated against each variable of interest.

    Logistic regression was used in some analyses, even where the independent variable was

    ordinal. For example, for attitudes towards gender and children respondents were presented

    with a list of statements and asked to state their level of agreement on a 5-point likert scale,

    where one equalled strongly agree and five equalled strongly disagree. Although the

    responses were ordinal, the assumption of proportional odds did not hold when tested, so

    logistic regression was used, the binary outcome of interest being whether the respondent

    agreed or strongly agreed with the statement versus other responses (mixed feelings,

    disagree, strongly disagree).

    In the regressions, a variable describing the combination of sex and parent status was entered

    as an independent variable. Fathers were the reference category, and non-fathers, mothers

    and non-mothers were compared to them. We also controlled for a number of other variables,

    including age, education, employment status, religion and religiosity. The respondents age

    was defined in three categories (20-24, 25-29, 30-34), with 25-29 as the reference category.

    Highest level of education was categorized into five groups: primary school or less, junior

    high school, senior high school, certificate level and Bachelors and above. Junior high school

    was treated as the reference category. Muslims were compared with non-Muslims

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    (reference), and for religiosity those who were not religious or did not report how religious

    they were, and those who claimed to be either religious or very religious, were compared to

    those who were somewhat religious as the reference category.

    The basic demographic characteristics of the sample are shown, by sex, in Table 1. Overall,

    females made up 58 per cent of the sample. Only one-third of male respondents had children

    compared to just over 60 per cent of female respondents.

    Table 1. Demographic characteristics of respondents by sex, Greater Jakarta, 2010

    Males Females Total Males Females Total % % % % % %

    Age group Religiosity 20-24 38 30 33 Not religious 14 9 11 25-29 32 33 32 Somewhat religious 62 65 63 30-34 31 37 35 Religious 14 15 15

    Very religious 5 7 6

    Marital status

    Dont know/no

    answer 5 4 5 Married (legally) 39 64 54 Married

    (religiously) 0.4 0.5 0.5 Employment status Widowed 0.2 0.6 0.4 Not employed 22 53 40 Divorced 0.3 1.4 0.9 Employed 78 47 60 Separated 0.4 0.6 0.5 Never married 59 32 43 Studying Unknown 0.5 0.9 0.7 Unknown 0.4 0.4 0.4 Not studying 86 91 89

    Parenthood status Studying 13 8 10 Parent 33 61 49 Childless 67 39 51 Geography

    Bekasi 17 15 16

    Highest education level Jakarta Pusat 6 7 7 Primary or less 9 17 14 Jakarta Selatan 14 16 15 Junior high school 15 18 17 Jakarta Timur 22 20 21 Senior high school 56 44 49 Jakarta Utara 10 11 10 Certificate 7 10 9 Jakarta Barat 16 14 15 Bachelors+ 13 11 12 Tangerang 15 16 16

    Religion Muslim 89 90 89 Other religion 11 10 11

    Total N 1,246 1,760 3,006 Total N 1,246 1,760 3,006 Source: The 2010 Greater Jakarta Transition to Adulthood Survey. Note:

    a Percentages may not add to 100, due

    to rounding

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    Respondents education levels were possibly the defining characteristic of the sample. Seven

    out of ten had graduated from senior high school, and over one-fifth had gone on to a tertiary

    qualification. However, there was a large gender gap in educational attainment with a much

    higher percentage of women completing only primary school compared to men. There were

    also gender differences in other demographic characteristics. Men were much more likely to

    be employed or studying than females, and reported slightly lower levels of religiosity.


    Experience of Fatherhood

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    Table 2 provides descriptive statistics for the young parents in the sample, comparing

    fathers and mothers. The mean current age of the young fathers was 30, and the median

    age at which they had had their first child was 25, whereas for mothers it was three years

    younger. Parenthood for both sexes was almost universally associated with marriage. All

    of the fathers and 99 per cent of the mothers were ever-married, but a small percentage

    of marriages had ended either through death or separation/divorce. Thus, 99 per cent of

    the fathers and 96 per cent of the mothers were currently legally or religiously married.

    Only three never married women reported having children. The fact that females had

    had their first children younger than males explains the differences in family

    composition evident when comparing sample mothers and fathers. Since the respondents

    were aged between 20-34 and since men tend to have children at a later age than women,

    on average fathers in our sample had fewer children than mothers, and their youngest

    children were younger.

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    Table 2. Parenthood attributes of young adults by sex




    s Mean current age of parents 30 29

    Median age at parenthood

    become parents

    25 22

    Current marital status (%)


    Married 99 96

    Not currently married 1 4

    Number of children (%)

    1 60 44

    2 31 43

    3+ 8 13

    Age of youngest child (%)

    0 25 18

    1-2 32 29

    3-5 29 30

    6+ 13 24

    Total (%)

    100 100

    Source: The 2010 Greater Jakarta Transition to Adulthood Survey

    The relationship between parenthood, age and highest education level is shown in Table

    3. There are wide educational disparities, those with higher education levels being

    considerably less likely to have children. Furthermore this pattern is found in every age

    group. This may indicate that young people with higher education, and in particular

    university degrees, experience a period of emerging adulthood which produces role

    identities focused on their studies and careers. These identities, which are formed

    without the presence of children, persist as young people get older, leading not only to a

    delay but also to a decline in childbearing. In contrast, those with lower levels of

    education appear to enter parenthood much sooner, and their identities as young parents

    are formed early in life. For example, among sample men aged 25-29, one-third of those

    with no post-school qualification were already parents, compared to only 16 per cent of

    those with university degrees. For women the pattern of motherhood by education was

    similar. It is important to note that the percentages displayed in Table 3 reflect both

    period and cohort influences. As education levels increase over time, the pattern of

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    parenthood at ages 30-34 may in the future turn out to be different for those currently

    aged 20-24.

    Table 3. Percentages who were parents by age, sex and highest education level

    Males Females 20-24 25-29 30-34 Total 20-24 25-29 30-34 Total Education Primary school less 11 32 83 49 56 82 94 84 Junior high school 20 39 73 45 50 75 94 76 Senior high school 5 39 61 30 16 68 90 54 Certificate 6 13 60 24 9 44 73 44 Bachelors+ 2 16 44 20 10 42 61 41 Total percentage who

    were parents 7 32 63 32 24 65 87 61

    Source: The 2010 Greater Jakarta Transition to Adulthood Survey

    The four panels of Figure 1 show the impact of education on the likelihood of men

    remaining childless in the decade between ages 20 and 29. Lines in the first panel show

    that men with primary school or less education currently aged 30-34 had lower

    proportions childless at each age than those aged 25-29 meaning, the older men had

    become fathers earlier. However, this effect was stronger for those with lower levels of

    education than for those that had completed Senior High School or had a tertiary

    qualification. Similar patterns are found at each educational level, but as education

    increased the overall chance of fatherhood was lower and the proportion childless higher.

    Thus, the overall trend in age at fatherhood is likely to be affected more by change in

    educational composition of the population than by changes in the timing of parenting for

    each education group.

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    Figure 1. Proportion of male respondents who remain childless at each age by current

    age group and highest educational attainment

    Source: The 2010 Greater Jakarta Transition to Adulthood Survey

    The probability of being a parent was analysed further using multivariate logistic

    regression. The results, shown in Table 4, confirm the bivariate analysis above.

    Controlling for current age, respondents with lower levels of education had significantly

    higher odds of being a parent. The number of siblings a person had was also a significant

    predictor of parenthood. Compared to those who only had 0-2 siblings, those with 3 or

    more siblings were significantly more likely to be parents themselves. Although the

    effect of religion on parenthood status was not significant for male respondents, being a

    Muslim increased the odds of having become a mother for women. Religiosity was not a

    significant variable, net of other variables, in any of the regression models.

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    Table 4. Logistic regression: Odds ratios of being a parent by sex

    Odds ratio All Males Females


    Male (ref) --

    Female 3.98***

    Age group

    20-24 0.16*** 0.17*** 0.15*** 25-29 (ref) -- -- --

    30-34 3.54*** 3.53*** 3.64***

    Highest education level

    Primary or less 2.22*** 1.64** 2.72***

    JHS 2.03*** 1.74*** 2.30*** SHS (ref) -- -- --

    Certificate 0.48*** 0.64 0.42***

    Bachelors+ 0.39*** 0.45*** 0.36***

    Total number of siblings

    0-2 (ref) -- -- --

    3-4 1.24* 1.18 1.30*

    5+ 1.43*** 1.50** 1.31*


    Non-muslim (ref) -- -- --

    Muslim 1.84*** 1.07 2.68***


    Not religious/not answered 1.02 0.82 1.25

    Somewhat religious (ref) -- -- --

    Religious/very religious 1.09 0.94 1.21

    Total number of observations 2,946 1,158 1,662 Source: The 2010 Greater Jakarta Transition to Adulthood Survey

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    Labour force participation


    Overall, around 60 per cent of the sample was currently working, but the employment

    situation varied significantly by sex and parenthood. Less than half the women were

    employed compared to nearly 80 per cent of the men. If we compare people with children,

    men who had children were more likely to work whereas women who had children were far

    less likely to be working than their childless counterparts (Table 5). This is consistent with

    the notion that fathers should be the economic providers for families and mothers should be

    responsible for domestic duties rather than having careers in the public sphere.

    Table 5. Percentages of respondents by employment and parental statuses, by sex

    % Males % Females

    Father Non-Father Mother Non-mother

    Not employed 1.9 20.5 42.4 12.5

    Employed 31.5 46.1 20.8 24.3

    N 1167 1672

    Source: The 2010 Greater Jakarta Transition to Adulthood Survey

    Among married couples, in around one-third of cases both the man and the women were

    currently employed. This percentage was much higher, however, just over half, among

    couples with no children. In couples with children the male breadwinner model predominated

    (Table 6).

    Table 6. Employment status among couples by parental status





    children Total

    Both partners work 53.7 28.5 31.7

    Only man works 41.9 66.6 63.5

    Only woman works 3.0 2.6 2.7

    Nobody works 1.5 2.3 2.2

    Total % 100 100 100

    Total N 203 1,417 1,620

    Source: The 2010 Greater Jakarta Transition to Adulthood Survey

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    Some insight into the employment experience of women that were not working can be gained

    by looking at their stated reasons for not working. Women who were not working were

    presented with a list of possible reasons for not working and asked to choose up to two of

    them, a main reason and a secondary reason. Table 7 shows, by parental status, the

    percentages choosing each reason as either their main or secondary reason for not working.

    Whereas non-mothers emphasized reasons related to inability to find work or study

    commitments, high percentages of mothers said they preferred to be at home with their

    children and had no one else to look after their children, and 24 per cent of them indicated

    that their partner did not want them to work. Those who had no one to look after their

    children presumably were unable to afford to pay live-in nannies and housekeepers (available

    for a minimum wage of US$110/month) and did not have extended family members who

    could help with childcare. The strong notion of husbands authority is demonstrated by many

    not allowing their wives to be involved in formal work.

    Table 7. Reasons mentioned by women for not working by parental status

    Mothers Non-mothers

    Reason % %

    Cannot find any work at all 5.0 24.4

    Cannot find a job suitable to skills 4.2 19.4

    Low skill levels 4.7 5.1

    Cannot find work nearby 0.6 6.0

    Cannot find a job with suitable hours 0.9 5.1

    Studying 0.3 33.6

    Poor health 1.1 4.6

    Permanently handicapped 0.0 0.0

    Pregnant 2.0 4.6

    Prefer to be at home with the children 63.4 -

    Have no one to look after my children 50.6 -

    Family caring responsibilities (not children) 7.9 4.6

    Partner does not want me to work 23.9 6.5

    Do not need additional income 0.1 3.2

    Other 8.5 21.7

    N 696 217

    Source: The 2010 Greater Jakarta Transition to Adulthood Survey

    Working hours

    Among employed respondents, the number of hours worked per week differed by both sex

    and parental status (Table 8). Overall 10 per cent of respondents worked less than 35 hours a

    week, 63 per cent 35-59 hours and 27 per cent 60 or more hours. Fathers worked the longest

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    hours. Nearly one-third worked 60 or more hours a week. Mothers were the most likely to

    work part-time (20%), though the great majority of mothers work full-time. Similar patterns

    have been found in Australian studies (Strazdins, Shipley and Broom, 2007)

    Table 8. Hours worked per week by employed respondents by sex and parental status

    Hours worked per week %

    Father Non-Father Mother Non-mother Total

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    Emotional relationships with parents

    Leaving the parental home

    Overall, just over half the sample was still living with their parents, but among these nearly a

    quarter had returned after leaving home at least once before. The ages at which individuals

    had first left home were very similar for men and women, median ages being respectively 20

    and 19 years.

    After leaving home for the first time there was a wide range of destinations, including

    moving into a place of ones own with a spouse, in with other relatives, into a share house or

    into a boarding house. Eight out of ten respondents who had their own children did not live in

    the home of their own parents. It is possible that some were living with in-laws, but that was

    not specifically asked about. Among the fathers and mothers who were not living with their

    own parents, about 60 per cent were living in a house that they or their partner owned or

    rented. Nowadays it is increasingly common for brides and grooms to be economically

    independent, and in fact one of the major motivations for delaying marriage is to accumulate

    the resources needed to live independently.

    Emotional relationships with parents

    Respondents were asked to describe their relationship with their father and mother on a scale

    from 1-5, where 1 equalled not very close and 5 equalled very close. Responses given by

    individuals whose biological mother or father was still alive are shown in the diagram below.

    Fifty to 60 percent of respondents described their relationship to their father as either close or

    very close. The remainder described it as average, not close or not very close, or they could

    not answer. Relationships with mothers were described as much closer by all respondents,

    and in particular by women. Emotional relationships with parents after marriage and having

    children show the strong attachment and functioning of the extended family. Figure 2

    demonstrated that emotional relationships with parents are lower for respondents who have

    become parents than non-parents for both sexes.

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    Figure 2. Impact of childbearing on respondents relationship with their parents

    Source: The 2010 Greater Jakarta Transition to Adulthood Survey

    Health and Mental Health

    Self-rated general health

    When asked to self-rate their health, the vast majority of respondents said their health was

    good. Only 13 per cent felt it was only fair or poor, and this is not surprising given the

    youth of the sample. Non-parents were more likely to report their health as being at the

    higher or lower end of the scale. They were more likely to say it was very good or

    excellent, but also more likely to classify it as fair or `poor.

    Vitality and Mental health

    Respondents were asked a series of questions to measure their vitality and mental health.

    Their vitality was measured by two questions: How often did you have lots of energy? How

    often have you felt tired and worn out? The mean level of vitality was 71 where 100 indicated

    the highest possible level of vitality.

    Mental health was measured using six items: How often did you feel full of life? How often

    have you felt nervous? How often have you felt that nothing could cheer you up? How often

    have you felt calm and peaceful? How often have you been a happy person? and How often

    have you felt very depressed? Respondents were given a timeframe of the past four weeks

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    and response options ranged from 1 = All of the time, to 5 = None of the time. The

    Cronbachs alpha for the six items was 0.68 and the mean score on mental health was 80.

    Table 10 shows three regression models, the first for self-rated health (ordinal regression) and

    the second and third for the vitality scores and mental health scores (linear regression). For

    self-rated health, non-mothers were less likely than fathers to rate their health highly, as were

    those with primary school education. For vitality, compared to fathers, women had lower

    scores and this was especially true of mothers. Compared to those aged 25-29, individuals in

    their early 20s were significantly less likely to have higher vitality scores. For mental health

    there was a greater range of variables which had some predictive power. Non-fathers had

    poorer mental health than fathers, but mothers and non-mothers did not differ significantly

    from fathers. Those aged 20-24 had poorer mental health than those aged 25-29. Australian

    studies have demonstrated that fathers with full-time jobs and mothers with part-time jobs are

    the most healthy and happy (Baxter et al., 2007).

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    Table 10. Regression models of self-rated health, vitality and mental health status of


    Ordinal regression, self-rated health

    (higher score=better health) (higher score=better vitality/mental health)

    Self rated health

    (odds ratios)Vitality Mental health

    Sex and parenthood

    Fathers (reference) -- -- --

    Non-fathers 0.91 -0.95 -2.08***

    Mothers 0.79* -2.14** 1.11

    Non-mothers 0.67*** -2.60** -0.65

    Age group

    20-24 0.78** -1.68** -1.46***

    25-29 (reference) -- --

    30-35 0.91 -0.77 -0.39

    Highest education

    Primary school or less 1.25 -2.07** -1.93**

    Junior high school (reference) -- -- --

    Senior high school 1.71*** 1.26 1.02*

    Certificate level 2.34*** 2.66** 2.31**

    Bachelors + 1.98*** 1.37 1.90**


    Not employed (reference) -- -- --

    Employed 0.98 -0.20 1.39***

    Constant 72.75*** 79.54***

    note: *** p

  • 20

    both sexes: The husband is the head of the household; A wife must worship and serve the

    husband; Marriage is for life. This finding is in line with Indonesian norms and values that

    see husbands as authority figures, regulating and dominating the household, and served and

    respected by their wives. That said, majorities of both male and female respondents signalled

    egalitarian views by agreeing with the following statements: If both the husband and wife

    work, they should share equally in household duties and childcare; Both the husband and

    wife should contribute equally to the household income. While these responses indicated

    majority support for married womens involvement in paid employment, interestingly the

    statement generating the most diverse response pattern by sex was: Having a job is the best

    way for a woman to be independent. Only 51 percent of fathers agreed to the statement,

    compared to 82 percent of non-mothers. The results for the more educated group are

    consistent with recent research indicating a preference for dual-earner marriages among

    educated young people, with wives taking up the role of secondary earners (A.Utomo 2008).

    Table 11. Percentages of respondents agreeing to statements on gender role attitudes by

    sex and parental status

    % Agree/Strongly agree










    A husband does not belong in the kitchen 12.8 16.6 19.5 14.4

    Someone should not have maintain a

    marriage/relationship should it no longer serves their


    26.7 35.2 32.7 33.9

    Having a job is the best way for a woman to be

    independent 50.8 61.3 71 81.9

    Wives have bigger role in maintaining domestic harmony 59.1 55.6 59.7 54.7

    It does not matter in a relationship if a wife earns more

    than the husband 77.4 80.3 82.6 84.7

    Wives and husbands should equally contribute to the

    family income 81.3 87.7 90.7 92.8

    If husband and wife are working, they both should share

    same household duties and childcare 91 90.1 93.5 94.5

    Marriage is for life 96.1 96.3 97.5 97.2

    A wife must worship and serve the husband 97.9 98.6 98.9 98

    Husband is the head of household 99.2 99.6 99.8 99.7

    Source: The 2010 Greater Jakarta Transition to Adulthood Survey

  • 21

    To assess how gender role attitudes were related to sex and parental status a series of logistic

    regressions were conducted (Table 12). The dependent variable was whether or not the

    respondent agreed or strongly agreed with a proposition. Overall, female respondents were

    more likely than fathers to exhibit egalitarian attitudes to gender roles. Non-fathers did not

    differ significantly from fathers in their responses to most statements of egalitarian and

    traditional attitudes , although they were more likely to agree that both the husband and wife

    should contribute to the household income, and that someone should not have to maintain a

    marriage or relationship if it no longer served their needs.

    Education comes out as a significant factor in each of these four cases and this may just

    indicate that those with higher education may simply be more comfortable in stating a

    strong opinion about something.

    Table 12. Logistic regressions of egalitarian and traditional gender attitudes

    Egalitarian attitudes Traditional attitudes

    Strongly agree/Agree vs. other responses Strongly agree/Agree vs. other responses

    It does not

    matter in a relationship if

    the wife earns

    more than the


    Each spouse should have


    activities from

    each other

    Both the husband

    and wife

    should contribute

    to the



    Someone should

    not have to

    maintain a marriage or

    relationship if it no

    longer serves their


    A husban

    d does

    not belong

    in the



    In maintaini


    domestic harmony,

    the wife

    has the

    main role

    A wife must be

    ok with her

    husband having

    another wife

    Sex and parenthood

    Fathers (reference) -- -- -- -- -- -- --

    Non-fathers 1.09 1.18 1.79*** 1.34** 1.40* 0.86 1.19

    Mothers 2.18*** 1.41*** 2.79*** 1.35** 1.39* 0.93 0.34***

    Non-mothers 1.63*** 1.46*** 3.12*** 1.29* 1.10 0.87 0.44***

    Age group

    20-24 1.56*** 0.92 0.83 1.28** 1.12 0.98 1.23

    25-29 (reference) -- -- . -- -- -- --

    30-35 1.15 1.00 0.89 1.19* 0.78** 0.86 1.37


    Not employed (reference) -- -- -- -- -- -- --

    Employed 1.75*** 1.20** 1.44*** 1.01 0.92 1.00 0.91

    Highest education

    Primary school or less 0.95 0.87 1.32 0.71** 1.17 1.16 0.91 Junior high school

    (reference) -- -- .

    -- -- -- --

    Senior high school 1.23 0.97 1.04 0.94 0.55*** 0.82* 0.68*

    Certificate level 2.00*** 0.81


    1.33* 0.51*** 0.74* 0.48*

    Bachelors + 1.97*** 1.06 1.48 1.11 0.33*** 0.57*** 0.81


    Other religion (reference) -- -- -- -- -- -- --

    Muslim 0.85 1.06 0.44*** 1.22 1.04 1.32** 0.87


    Not religious 1.12 0.89 0.87 1.33*** 1.23 0.94 1.79***

    Somewhat religious -- -- . -- . . .

    Religious/Very religious 1.04 0.95 0.78* 0.82* 1.14 1.41*** 1.26 Source: The 2010 Greater Jakarta Transition to Adulthood Survey. Note: *** p

  • 22

    Attitudes towards children

    As with the gender attitudes, respondents were asked to state their levels of agreement to a

    series of statements regarding children. A series of logistic regressions were conducted to

    investigate the effects on attitudes of various demographic characteristics. Compared to

    fathers, childless respondents were less likely to agree that A life without children is not fully

    complete. Childless respondents and mothers were, however, significantly more likely to

    agree that There is social pressure to have children. Women in general (mothers and non-

    mothers) were more likely than men to agree that A working mother can establish just as

    warm and secure a relationship with her children as a mother who does not work. Compared

    to fathers, mothers were more likely to agree that The mother is responsible for the childs

    growth and development.

    Respondents with more education appeared to place a higher value on children than those

    who had only completed up to junior high school. They were more likely to agree that A life

    without children is not fully complete and less likely to agree that Children are a burden so it

    is better not to have more than two. Those with more education were also less likely to agree

    that The mother is responsible for the childs growth and development and that Having

    children is a religious duty.

    Religion also played a role in shaping attitudes. Respondents who were Muslim were more

    likely to agree that having children was a religious duty, and less likely to agree that having

    children was a burden, so that it was better to not have more than two. The attitude that a

    mother is responsible for a childs growth and development declines consistently with age,

    perhaps as the importance of a fathers contribution becomes more appreciated.

  • 23

    Table 13. Logistic regressions of attitudes towards children

    Strongly agree/Agree vs. other responses

    A life without children is not fully complete

    Children are a burden so it is better not to have more than two

    A working mother can establish just as warm and secure a relationship with her children as a mother who does not work

    The mother is responsible for the child's growth and development

    There is social pressure to have children

    Having children is a religious duty

    Sex and parenthood

    Fathers (reference)

    Non-fathers 0.44*** 1.21 1.24 1.14 1.89*** 1.06

    Mothers 1.15 0.95 2.33*** 1.65*** 1.36* 1.24

    Non-mothers 0.47*** 0.96 2.20*** 1.16 1.73*** 0.91

    Age group

    20-24 1.59*** 1.28* 0.99 1.23** 0.89 0.99

    25-29 (reference) . . . . . .

    30-35 1.37* 0.92 1.08 0.77*** 1.03 0.85


    Not employed (reference) . . . . . .

    Employed 1.03 0.85 1.31*** 1.18* 1.02 1.12

    Highest education

    Primary school or less 0.66* 1.33* 1.28* 1.29* 1.29 1.16

    Junior high school (reference)

    . . . . . .

    Senior high school 1.58** 0.52*** 1.10 0.57*** 0.86 0.65***

    Certificate level 1.88** 0.55*** 1.30 0.27*** 0.66* 0.48***

    Bachelors + 1.67* 0.33*** 1.41** 0.26*** 0.68* 0.49***


    Other religion (reference) . . . . . .

    Muslim 1.50* 0.68** 0.91 1.21 0.92 1.83***


    Not religious/Dont know 0.88 1.09 1.06 1.16 1.19 1.24*

    Somewhat religious . . . . . .

    Religious/very religious 0.70** 1.07 0.82** 0.99 0.94 0.97

    Source: The 2010 Greater Jakarta Transition to Adulthood Survey. Note: *** p

  • 24


    Young fathers exhibit a high rate of employment compared to young men who are not

    fathers. In contrast there is a relatively low level of paid employment among mothers

    compared with both married and unmarried women who are not mothers. There is little

    opportunity for part-time work for either fathers or mothers in Jakarta, and many fathers work

    very long hours (60+ per week). It is important to note that since we are using cross-sectional

    data we are not making any claims about causality at this stage regarding the effect of

    childbearing on mens working patterns. While men with children work longer hours than

    men without children, it is possible that this is due to a selection effect. That is employed men

    who work long hours, and earn a higher level of income, may be more attractive partners and

    therefore more likely to marry and have children than their peers who are less successful in

    the labour market.

    As these are relatively young parents, their children are also still quite young (the youngest

    usually still under school age). Reasons for mothers not working largely reflect traditional

    values and choices. The notion that it is the mothers primary duty to look after children

    shapes the options that most women perceive concerning employment versus domestic

    activities. In a surprisingly high percentage of cases, young fathers do not want their wives to

    work. This is a core indication of the generally strong traditional attitudes among fathers

    compared to other young men.

    Fathers have a high degree of satisfaction about their job prospects, and this might be a

    reason why their wives are not working. Education of the mother changes this situation. The

    higher her education the more likely she is to be working. The precise reasons for this pattern

    are not clear. Educated mothers may receive intrinsic rewards from their work, but at the

    same time they may have more bargaining power with their husbands to allow them to pursue

    their own careers and spend time out of the household. They can also more easily afford

    alternative childcare.

    Regarding financial and emotional relationships with parents, fathers reported themselves to

    be less close to their parents than non-fathers, mothers and non-mothers, and 50 percent of

    fathers were not close or very close to their own fathers compared to about one-third not

    being close to their mothers. Thus, there seems to be a degree of separation of male

    generations, especially when the next generation has its own children.

  • 25

    Men are more likely than women to report themselves to be healthy and also report higher

    vitality scores. There is no significant difference between fathers and non-fathers in these

    matters, but young fathers have better mental health scores than young non-fathers. All three

    health and wellbeing measures are influenced by education, with the more educated reporting

    higher degrees of health/wellbeing.

    The broad picture is of fathers working long hours to earn income to support their wives and

    children. This defines the socially preferred male breadwinner role.

    Fathers have good physical and mental health and mostly consider their job prospects to be

    good, in line with the breadwinner model. The introduction of higher education for women

    complicates this picture. Where the mother has a high level of education, she is much more

    likely to work and also works relatively long hours, implying a reliance on alternative forms

    of childcare.

    The observed life situations tend to reflect traditional attitudes and behaviour among young

    fathers. In contrast mothers in our young adult sample display differing values which are

    often not consistent with their life situations. Young fathers are much less egalitarian in their

    gender attitudes than young women in general, and are more conservative about traditional

    values related to children.

  • 26


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