Contents - Previous - Next
This is the old United Nations University website. Visit the new site at http://unu.edu
The Javanese family
Introduction to the Javanese model
East Asian relationship to socio-economic development
An overview of Java
Concepts of individual, family, and community
The family arrangements
The status of women in the javanese family
The Javanese value of children
Relationships in the family
Social network and family support system
Javanese concept of life
Teaching manners and values
Social implications of the javanese value system
Challenges for transition
Introduction to the Javanese model
To test the effects of family-level variables on child welfare, one needs to develop a culturally appropriate conceptual model that reveals both family dynamics as well as the relationships between the child and other variables. Before developing such a model for the Javanese family, we review the concepts of family, kinship, and socialization in Java, and present an overview of socio-economic development in East Asian countries, focusing on family transitions caused by modernization. Where applicable, we have included data collected during the evaluation phase of a two-year intervention project (PANDAI) designed to change caretaking behaviours and home/environmental stimulation to improve child cognitive development (Satoto and Colletta 1987). The data were not originally collected to identify family structure and dynamics and thus the results reported are limited in their scope.
The survey data
Dietary, anthropometric, demographic, and social/behavioural data on 235 Javanese children, aged 24-79 months, are included in the analysis presented here. Details of the methodology are reported elsewhere (Chomitz 1992). The households included were non-randomly selected from eight villages in Central Java where kaders (volunteer workers from the growth monitoring and under-five clinics) were available to conduct the intervention and participate in the research. Each participating kader chose five children, aged one to five years, from her growth-monitoring case-load. The kader was likely to have selected children and households she believed would benefit from the child stimulation programme and reflect well on her own participation. The kader may have disproportionately included more middle- to upper-income families or families with positive caretaking behaviours that lead to regular participation in health care.
Data analysed from the evaluation survey of the PANDAI project included:
1. Food frequencies and 24-hour recalls for the children. Mothers were surrogate respondents for their child's food intake. Food level data, as well as the percentage of recommended dietary intake ( % RDI) for energy, protein, vitamin A, and iron were evaluated.
2. A sociodemographic questionnaire and the Caldwell HOME inventory for preschool-aged children (Caldwell and Bradley 1984).
3. Anthropometric measurements, including weights, heights, midarm and head circumference of the children, and heights and weights of the mothers.
The Caldwell HOME inventory was modified to describe factors related to attained size and nutrient intake. We used age-controlled partial correlation analysis to identify relevant individual items in the HOME, and principal components analysis to cluster the variables into independent factors. Leastsquares and logistic regression analysis was used to explain variation in the adequacy of nutrient intake and attained height.
East Asian relationship to socio-economic development
Some countries in East Asia have experienced rapid economic growth and improved quality of life. Although in the West economic prosperity coexists with increased crime and divorce, in the East the family remains stable and the crime rate remains low despite economic development (Rozman 1991).
According to East Asian experts, such as Colcutt (1991), Ebrey (1991), Haboush (1991), and Rozman (1991), Confucian tradition continues to influence culture and lifestyle in East Asian countries, particularly Japan. Confucian values revolve around the family and tradition, using the harmonious family as a building block for constructing a harmonious society. Therefore, East Asians continue to value group orientation, acceptance of authority, dependence, conflict avoidance, interest in harmony, seniority consciousness, and dutifulness (Rozman 1991). These characteristics may have helped to maintain social stability during the recent period of rapid economic growth.
Observers around the globe now marvel at the dynamism of this region. Some have tallied the statistics on economic performance, exclaiming about the quadrupling or quintupling of GNP over barely two decades since the 1950s or 1960s. Many have reported on the avalanche of high-quality and competitively priced exports that draw foreign customers by the throngs, provoking anguish as well as envy among leaders in other countries concerned with their balance of payments. Appreciation for the achievements of this region can be found in commentaries on superior educational performance, low crime rates, high life expectancies, and an unusual degree of family stability. (Rozman 1991, 5)
Despite the positive aspects of the region's development, some have raised concern regarding the lack of personal choice and individuality. In reviewing the East Asian literature, Ketcham (1987) found that so-called "negative" Eastern traits, such as the dependent relationship between a senior and a junior, and paternalistic management practices, have been credited by some East Asian authors for the remarkable social, human resources, and economic progress in East Asia.
With regard to dependency, Takeo Doi, a Japanese psychiatrist, explained in his book, The Anatomy of Dependence (Doi 1981), that the concept of dependence is the cultural foundation of Japanese social relationships, creating feelings of pleasure, comfort, and acceptance in hierarchical relationships. Such relationships involve intense emotional attachments, which further promote a sense of obligation or duty and establish interdependence. The family most nearly embodies these kinds of relationships, although similar relationships exist at work, school, and in the community.
The mother-child bond is perhaps the most important in shaping the attitude of dependence in Japanese society. This bond is formed through close physical proximity in the first years of life. The child usually lives in the parent's house until at least the time of marriage (Rozman 1991). In a crosscultural study on parenting, Bornstein and co-workers (Bornstein, Tal, and Tamis-LeMonda 1991) stated that parents in collectivist cultures (such as Japan) encourage children to follow rules and to conform to norms (obedient and proper behaviour, with respect for the elder), whereas parents in individualist cultures (such as the United States) allow children a good deal of autonomy and encourage independent exploration of the environment (self-reliant and creative behaviour). The Eastern type of parenting combined with the inculcation of feelings of dependence and emotional obligation, which is distinct from that of the Western countries, may have influenced socio-economic development.
Indonesian culture (i.e. Javanese) shares much with its neighbouring countries and their Confucian values in terms of familial values, child-raising practices, and the idea of social conformity. Yet, in terms of socio-economic development, Indonesia, although growing rapidly, still lags behind other Eastern countries. Mulder (1978) hypothesized that one reason why economic development in Indonesia has not progressed as rapidly as it has in Japan and South Korea is because the Javanese view of the material world is less positive. According to Mulder, the Javanese see modernity as
material accomplishment, or pembangunan (development) . . . Modern times also mean individual mobility, the upsetting of the harmonious social whole, frustrated feelings, and lack of a sense of social well-being. (Murder 1978, 103)
Mulder's hypothesis, that the negative view of the material world held by the Javanese has impeded Indonesian development, may not be true according to new theories of modernization. As noted by So (1990),
The new modernization studies avoid treating tradition and modernity as a set of mutually exclusive concepts. In the new modernization research, tradition and modernity not only can co-exist but can penetrate and intermingle with each other. In addition, instead of arguing that tradition is an obstacle to development, the new modernization studies attempt to show the beneficial role of tradition (such as familism and folk religion). (So 1990, 61)
Therefore, the Javanese negative view of the material world does not necessarily lead to national backwardness. Indonesia's rapid income growth is confirmed by a World Bank report (1992) stating that the economy continues to grow strongly, and that it is possible for Indonesia to move towards solid middle-income status by the year 2000. Mulder's (1978) research, however, was conducted in 1969-1970, during which time the growth of manufacturing sectors was not as rapid as it was in the 1980s.
Economic development and modernization produce changes in family roles that may erode family ties and traditional values that bind relatives together. As in the United States since the 1940s (Dizard and Gadlin 1990), "extreme individualism" has increased in many large cities in Korea, where the small nuclear family is becoming the norm (Ketcham 1987). The degree to which the development process transforms family roles in East Asian countries, especially Indonesia, however, is not yet well documented, nor is the extent to which traditional family values can promote resilience and flexibility in adapting to new circumstances. More research in this area is needed.
An overview of Java
Java is the most heavily populated island in Indonesia, with 60 per cent of the population occupying only 7 per cent of the total land area (CBS 1987). As the centre of colonial activity, by 1930 Java already had experienced a long period of agricultural intensification, construction of irrigation facilities, and development of the infrastructure for colonial economic activities, making it the dominant region in Indonesia (Hugo et al. 1987).
The Javanese are the largest of Indonesia's 36 major ethnic groups. Their homelands are in the central and eastern parts of the island. The secondlargest ethnic and linguistic group, the Sundanese, occupy the western part of Java. Because the post-Independence Indonesian government has not allowed the inclusion of an ethnicity question in the census,1 the total population by ethnic groups is not available. Hugo et al. (1987) estimated Javanese dominance in Indonesia by using the language spoken in the homes in the 1980 census data, which showed that 40 per cent of the Indonesians speak Javanese at home, and 58 per cent living in Java speak this language.
Population growth, leading to conversion of agricultural land to residences, reduced both the total area of land under cultivation on Java and the size of the average farm (Booth and Sundrum 1976). At the same time, overinvestment in manufacturing drew people to seek non-agricultural, urban jobs. According to the World Bank (1988), the urban population is growing five times as fast as the rural population.
As a part of South-East Asia, Javanese culture shares several aspects with neighbouring countries, including the heritage of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. But although Islam was introduced after the arrival of Shunni Muslim merchants from Gujarat, India, in the thirteenth century, in Indonesia (notably Java), Muslims blend their religion with the Hindu and Buddhist heritage. Most Javanese Muslims adhere to Islam by confession, but do not closely practice Islamic rituals and regulations. This group is called the abangan. A smaller percentage of Javanese Muslims adhere to a rather purist form of Islam, which is called the santri (people who follow Islamic principles seriously).
The distinction between abangan and santri is made when people are classified with reference to religious behavior. A santri person is more religious than an abangan person. The term priyayi, on the other hand, cannot be regarded as a category of the same classification, since there are definitely priyayi people who are religious, and thus santri, and those who have no interest in religious affairs and, accordingly, are considered to be abangan. The term priyayi refers to social class, to the traditional legitimate elite; it refers to those who by right are considered to be different from the commoners, called ... wong cilik (little men). (Bachtiar 1973)
Cultural practices surrounding weddings, funerals, and the birth of children are influenced by the Hindu heritage. Therefore, even though the country is one of the two largest Islamic nations in the world, local traditions have made Javanese Islamic culture distinct from that of Middle Eastern Moslems.
After extensive research, Mulder (1978) concluded that mysticism is the essence of Javanese culture. In fact, mystical practices have recently gained popularity (Koentjaraningrat 1985). The rise of Javanese mysticism, as explained by Mulder (1978), is not merely a reaction against modernization, as some have implied, but is primarily an effort to search for, and to preserve, the cultural identity that dominates the Javanese quest to deal with the present.
Like the Yoruba of Nigeria, Javanese society had pre-modern characteristics commonly associated with urban development. The Yoruba lived for many centuries in towns while remaining predominantly farmers; the Javanese also developed typically urban governmental and cultural institutions while remaining rice farmers living in rural villages. Despite an agrarian economy, there are almost no isolated peasant villages in Java (Koentjaraningrat 1985).
In terms of social stratification, the Javanese distinguish between two broad social levels - the wong cilik (or common people), consisting of peasants and the urban lower classes, and the priyayi (or high-class society), comprising civil servants, intellectuals, and the aristocracy (Koentjaraningrat 1957). Javanese society is, however, relatively open and socially mobile (Koentjaraningrat 1985). Peasants may move upward, by way of education, into white-collar governmental positions. But regardless of social rank, cultural values and attitudes toward children remain fairly constant (Koentjaraningrat 1985). In describing the Javanese family, therefore, we do not explicitly distinguish between wong cilik and priyayi families, although some distinctions between social classes are noted.
Regression analysis on our sample found that income and other economic measures were only marginally associated with dietary adequacy and nutritional status. These associations disappeared when social and behavioural variables entered the equations. Certain behaviours, however, appeared to be associated with middle-class and others with lower-class lifestyles and values. We characterized middle-class households as having a home built of relatively modern or expensive materials, better-educated parents who belonged to social or community organizations, and a non-working mother/housewife. These characteristics of middle-class families are consistent with the literature on Javanese household structure (Hull 1982; Koentjaraningrat 1985).
Features in the children's socio-economic environment that were found to have a positive association with the adequacy of their dietary intake were the sanitation and safety of the home, and television ownership. Morbidity was not evaluated in this model, and a relationship between sanitation and reduced morbidity may have influenced the adequacy of the nutrient intake (World Health Organization 1985). Owning a television implied that the family had electricity and a "window on the world" through communication networking and exposure to outside influences. The Indonesian government frequently uses television for health and nutrition promotion; thus the relationship between television ownership and the adequacy of intake may be an education effect and/or a reflection of wealth and income.
Concepts of individual, family, and community
To be Javanese means to be a person who is civilized and who knows his manners and his place (Geertz 1961; Mulder 1978; Koentjaraningrat 1985). The individual serves as a harmonious part of the family or group. Life in society should be characterized by rukun (harmonious unity), which Mulder (1978) has described:
Rukun is soothing over of differences, cooperation, mutual acceptance, quietness of heart, and harmonious existence. The whole of society should be characterized by the spirit of rukun, but whereas its behavioral expression in relation to the supernatural and to superiors is respectful, polite, obedient, and distant, its expression in the community and among one's peers should be akrab (intimate) as in a family, cozy, and kangen (full of the feeling of belonging). (Murder 1978, 39)
To achieve rakun, persons should be primarily group members; their individuality should be expressed through the group. All overt expressions of conflict should be avoided. Unlike Western culture, which regards individualism and group belonging as mutually exclusive, most Javanese consider the two intimately related (Murder 1978). Mutual assistance and sharing of burdens (gotong royong), within both the family and the community, should reflect the concept of rakun (Murder 1978; Koentjaraningrat 1985).
Harmony and unity are complemented by social hierarchy. Everyone should know his or her place and duty, honouring and respecting those in higher positions, while remaining benevolent towards, and responsible for, those in lower positions. This hierarchy is captured in the Javanese language, which has three pronoun and verb forms for addressing the second person (the "you" who is above, equal, or inferior in rank) that express the respect to which the other person is entitled. Such respect is counterbalanced by a reciprocal claim of patronage and protection (Murder 1978). Husken (1991) has described the relationship between relatives as generosity of the rich or senior relatives and reciprocal loyalties of the less well-to-do relatives or juniors. For example, some wealthy farmers support poor relatives by permitting them to become sharecroppers on their land.
The family arrangements
Ideally, marriage is meant by the Javanese to establish a new, nuclear, and autonomous household. Since it is not easy to acquire a new house in Java, young couples usually live in the home of the wife's parents for three to five years until they become economically and residentially independent (Koentjaraningrat 1985). There is a marked tendency towards matrilocal establishment of the new home close to that of the wife's parents, who may actually give the new house to them (Geertz 1961; Williams 1990). The wife will remain in close contact with her parents, assisting them as they age. If the married children live separately from their parents, the husband and wife maintain close contact with their own parents (Jay 1969).
Peasant households have been categorized into four family types (Jay 1969): the simple nuclear family consists of husband and wife and their unmarried children, or one parent and his/her children; the augmented nuclear family is the same as the nuclear family but also includes elderly retired parents; the extended family consists of husband and wife and their married children, whereas the joint family consists of siblings and their respective spouses. According to Jay's data from Mancanegari village, the simple nuclear family dominates (74.4 per cent), followed by the augmented nuclear family (15.0 per cent), the extended family (5.3 per cent), and the joint family (0.7 per cent). Geertz's data from Modjokuto (Central Java) shows comparable findings, with simple nuclear families comprising 75 per cent of households in the village and 58 per cent in the town (Geertz 1961). However, Koentjaraningrat (1985) found in his study village in Central Java that many simple nuclear families lived in the same compound of the parental house; when the parental gardens became crowded, a new house frequently was built attached to the wife's parents' house but with a separate kitchen so that the new couple could cook their own food and manage their own household affairs. The apparent lack of female-headed households in Jay's definition is consistent with statistics from a national survey in East Java and Nasatenggara Timur Barat (NTB) (Megawangi 1991) showing only 5.6 per cent of femaleheaded households. In general, divorced mothers and their children live in households headed by the mother's father.
The architecture of most village houses is standardized, with rooms usually divided by woven bamboo or wood plank partitions. The husband, wife, and baby sleep in one sleeping chamber, and older children sleep in other rooms. Figure 6.1 shows floor plans of typical Javanese houses (Jay 1969).
In our sample, about one-half of the families (46 per cent) lived in traditional homes with dirt floors and bamboo thatch siding; 17 per cent of the homes were more modern with brick and cement or tile floors; the rest of the families lived in transitional homes, with thatch siding and cement floors, or dirt floors with partial or full brick siding. The children's stature and nutrient intake (%RDI of energy, protein, vitamin A, and iron) were associated with the modernization of the home. A more modern/expensively constructed home also was associated with the measures of better cleanliness/sanitation in the home, more educated and older parents, and television ownership - indicative of middle-class ranking (Hull 1982; Koentjaraningrat 1985).
Fig. 6.1 Two floor plans of Javanese houses in Tamansari village. The house above is relatively modest; the house below accomodates family members of two generations and guest (source: Jay 1969)
A more recent study in Sukaharjo, Central Java, conducted by Williams (1990), shows that among couples who relocated or moved away from their parents after marriage (62 per cent of the males and 72 per cent of the females experienced the post-wedding move by the time of her survey), roughly one-half moved within the village, while the remainder moved elsewhere. Even though they established their own households, they continued to maintain close contact with their parents. The average number of visits to parents on both sides (n = 274 couples) was between 5.0 and 6.7 per month.
It has been suggested that a woman's decision-making process is influenced by the intensity of parental contact and whether the family is nuclear or extended. Williams (1990) found that women had less overall decision-making power (measured by contraceptive and childbearing decisions) when the couple did not move than when they relocated within the first four years. Also, the wife's intrafamilial status suffered when regular contact with parents from both sides was maintained. Williams' findings agree with those of Whyte (1978) and Warner, Lee, and Lee (1986) from other countries, who found that women in nuclear households are likely to have more power than those from extended families. When women move away from the extended family, their power in making major household decisions increases. Although moving away from family ties gives the new couple increasing autonomy and power to control their lives, it also may erode the kin network as the major source of child care and social and emotional support for the family. There are few data, however, regarding the effect of residential mobility on child welfare.
The status of women in the javanese family
Much literature documents the favourable position of Javanese women. Hull (1982) noted that the status of women in Java appears to be ahead of that in other Asian countries. A recent study conducted by Wolfe (1988), comparing female autonomy in Java and in Taiwan,2 confirms Hull's notion. The situation of Javanese women impressed Crawfurd (1820, in Winzeler 1982) during the European presence in the region, at which time Crawfurd remarked:
... women are not treated with contempt or disdain. They eat with the men, and associate with them in all respects on terms of equality, as surprised us in such a condition of society ... women appear in public without any scandal; they take an active concern in all the business of life; they are consulted by men on all public affairs, and are frequently raised to the throne, and that too when the monarchy is elective ... At public festivals, women appear among the men; and those invested with authority sit in their councils when affairs of state are discussed, possessing, it is often alleged, even more than their due share in the deliberations ... The Javanese women are industrious and laborious beyond all those of the archipelago, but their labor, instead of being imposed upon them by the men, becomes through its utility to the latter, a source of distinction. (Winzeler 1982, 178)
This pattern has remained relatively constant over time, as others have documented (see Geertz 1961; Mangkuprawira 1981; Hull 1982; Williams 1990). In general, Javanese women contribute to the household economy by earning income from wages, trading, and agricultural activities. Some jobs, however, women cannot perform, including ploughing; carrying extremely heavy loads; and performing heavy manual labour, such as road work, carpentry, or bricklaying (Geertz 1961). Since many Javanese women are economically independent, the typical woman has no difficulty in supporting herself and her children, should she wish to (Geertz 1961). Javanese women also have the right to own and control land, since it is transferred bilineally. This is in contrast to the Yoruba society, where until recently land was owned by the clan and its usage rights were inherited mainly through the male line (Afonja 1990). Social class, however, affects women's contributions to the household economy. According to Hull (1982), upper-class women are more financially dependent on their husbands because there is no economic necessity for them to work and the husband's status increases if he is able to support the family alone.
In our sample, children of mothers who purchased, prepared, and served the food to their child themselves consumed a higher proportion of their recommended dietary intake than did children for whom someone else performed food-related tasks. Mothers who completed the household food tasks themselves were less likely to work outside the home, and had a television and modern home. Although mothers who were less intimately involved in food preparation and feeding may have underreported their children's intake, it is likely that the children had better diets when the mother herself handled the tasks. Traditionally, it was principally the lower-class women who worked outside the home. Being a housewife is considered a privilege in Java, and women who work are thought not to be able to care properly for their children (Hull 1982). In our sample, 34 per cent of the mothers worked outside the home.
In the domestic domain, female autonomy also has been widely recognized. The Javanese believe that husband and wife should work together as a team. Hull (1982) found that, in each income category and social class, 80 per cent of married women (n = 950) claim that it is they who keep the household income. In a town in central Java, Geertz (1961) observed that wives make most household decisions. They usually consult with their husbands only on major matters. "Strong-willed men may have a relationship of equal partnership with their wives, but families actually dominated by the man are exceedingly rare" (Geertz 1961, 45). In a study in Maguwohardjo (central Java) conducted by Hull (1982), about 75 per cent of married couples (n = 950) agreed with the statement, "In general, females are more clever than males." The strong position of the Javanese woman in the domestic domain influences her role as mother. The woman is the main and direct authority figure over the children (Koentjaraningrat 1985), dominating in the management of the household and family decision making (Geertz 1961).
Kinship organization in Java is bilateral (Geertz 1961), with descent reckoned equally through father and mother. A strong network of ties between related Javanese women produces a "matrifocal" kinship system. The Javanese try to avoid conflict by minimizing interaction between potentially opposing relatives. Usually, the wife's kinswomen, who interact intensively with the family through exchange of mutual aid and child care, dominate. As Geertz described:
The woman has more authority, influence, and responsibility than her husband, and at the same time receives more affection and loyalty. The concentration of both of these features in the female role leaves the male relatively functionless in regard to the internal affairs of the nuclear family. (Geertz 1961, 79)
Blumberg (1984) also found that the Javanese bilateral and matrifocal system ranked high on the scale of female power.
The relatively high status and independence of women can be linked to the farming system in Java. Winzeler (1982) hypothesized that when men and women are both involved equally, as in other South-East Asian countries, the status of women tends to be favourable. In contrast to the sub-Saharan African women, who usually are the primary agricultural producers, Javanese women are seen to be equal participants in the household economy. The extent to which this pattern influences the practice of polygamy can be related to Boserup's hypothesis (Boserup 1970) that, since women do not commonly form the primary labour force in South-East Asian agriculture, polygyny is not as economically attractive a marriage pattern for men as it is in areas where women are the major agricultural producers. Even though polygyny is permitted in Javanese culture, it is not generally practiced among the peasant society and is officially discouraged in the priyayi class. Geertz (1961) reported in her study in Modjokuto that only 2 per cent of marriages were polygynous (n 1,939 marriages), and Koentjaraningrat (1985) observed that in two subdistricts in South Central Java, only a little over 3 per cent of the households were polygynous. In contrast to the peasants in rural areas, polygamy seems to be more common in urban classes and among wealthy men. If polygyny is practiced, the living arrangement is still nucleatic, in which wives usually live in socially and economically separate households (Geertz 1961). Although there are no data estimating the prevalence of polygyny among the wealthy, Geertz noted that the practice of polygyny is still rare, owing to the strong resistance of wives who do not want to share their husbands. The law (Marriage Law no. 1 of 1974) requires the first wife to consent to her husband's marriage to another wife. Government employees also must obtain official consent of their supervisors before taking another wife. If a man were caught taking another wife without obtaining appropriate permission, his career would usually be in jeopardy.
Although the status of women in the family is clear, their position in society is less well defined. Williams (1990) reviewed the literature regarding the role of Indonesian women within the society. According to government reports,
The history and literature of Indonesia show how high the position and how great the role were of women during the periods of kingdoms in Indonesia. (Indonesia, Department of Information 1986, 7; from Williams 1990)
Under customary law of the various regions of the country, the position of women within society was viewed as no different from that of men, and women were frequently found in positions of military and political leadership. (Williams 1990, 35)
Some evidence, however, suggests that the situation of women has deteriorated, especially for women from lower social classes. Koentjaraningrat (1985, 139) found that
In public, social and political affairs ... the village women do not play an overt leading role, and although female landholders do have the same voting rights as men, they are usually not interested in such matters, and prefer to send their sons to represent them at village meetings.
According to Hull (1982), lower class women are not only poorly educated and busy with daily activities, but they are also socially isolated from organizations that are dominated primarily by women of higher social class. In contrast, however, other findings showed that wealth did not affect the participation of poor women in some development activities in East Java and Bali (e.g. Community Systems Foundation 1988). It may be that while upperclass village women had power, lower-class women were still very much involved.
Estimates of women's literacy in Java are still lower than for men, with the 1980 census figures showing that 90 per cent of men and 75 per cent of women are literate. The large number of illiterate females aged 50 or older contributed to the high illiteracy rate. At the turn of the century, few schools were available to the villagers, and daughters of poor villagers did not attend. Even daughters of wealthy villagers received no schooling, as they married between the ages of 12 and 15 (Williams 1990). The Marriage Law, enacted in 1974, sets the minimum age for marriage at 16 for girls and 19 for boys. With primary enrolment rates now approaching 100 per cent for both boys and girls, the number of new illiterates entering the adult population is becoming smaller. Enrolment rates for higher education are still greater for males than for females (Supas 1987), a trend that can be linked to tuition fees for secondary school. Because poor parents cannot afford to pay the tuition for all their children's education, they pay only for the males (Mangkuprawira 1981). The reason may be that it is socially acceptable for females to depend on their husband financially once married, but not vice versa.
In our Central Java sample, about one-half of the fathers (51 per cent) and mothers (48 per cent) had completed primary school; 10 per cent of the fathers and 8 per cent of the mothers had 12 years of school. The large majority of the fathers (74 per cent) and the mothers (84 per cent) belonged to at least one community organization.
Contents - Previous - Next