I suddenly needed to find a way to work full-time and take care of my kids without any support.

Breadwinner: A woman in the village of Jerakah in Selo district, Boyolali, Central Java, works on a farm while carrying her child. Most women in the district get married when they are 15 years old. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)

Breadwinner: A woman in the village of Jerakah in Selo district, Boyolali, Central Java, works on a farm while carrying her child. Most women in the district get married when they are 15 years old. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)

"I met my partner already back in junior high school. After being together for 7 years we decided to get married. My pregnancy and delivery with my first born, a son, went smoothly and he is now 5 years old. When I gave birth to my daughter a year and a half later, I underwent a c-section, she is now 3.5 years old.

I now work as a teacher in Bali and I work for 9 hours per day on Monday – Friday. Since I have a busy work schedule, my Mother-in-law usually helps me to take care of my kids while I am working. Once I get home from work, I cook for my kids, feed them, play with them, enjoy spending time together with them until they fall asleep each night.

The first change due to the COVID-19 outbreak which greatly impacted our lives was when the school where I work needed to be closed and we need to do distance learning. You can imagine that this is quite hard for me as a Mom with 2 toddlers at home. I no longer asked my mother-in-law for help watching them due to the social distancing rules so I needed to find a way to balance my full-time job and take care of my kids.

The first weeks with our new routine, it was very hard to adjust but it gets better now since we get used to it more each day and enjoy having more time to cook and play with my kids, but I am having trouble with my kids sleeping schedule which has changed since we are all at home. It's harder to finish my job when I have many distractions and I feel that I cannot be a good Mom for my kids since I put more focus on preparing the topics for distance learning for my students and cannot fully focus on my own children all the time. I am feeling very tired and I feel that I have no me time. I’m always feeling overwhelmed with the constant work both in front of laptop for my job while also taking care of my family."

- Destria, Mom of 2 (Bali, Indonesia)

An article in the Jakarta post further explains the situation for Indonesian mothers during the corona crisis. (Read full article here)

Schools have been closed in Jakarta, Indonesia, the national epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, since March 16, well before PSBB measures went into effect on April 10. Since then, many other regions have followed suit.

The Education and Culture Ministry issued a circular letter on March 24 calling for schools to provide distance learning activities for students while they stayed at home and announcing the cancellation of national exams.It remains unclear when schools will reopen. The government predicts the outbreak could reach its peak in the country by the end of May.

The uncertainty has taken a toll on mothers in Indonesia, where women are expected to bear the responsibility of child-rearing on top of other domestic chores. During times of crisis, women are often burdened with greater expectations to carry out domestic responsibilities, including tending to children and ill members of the family, said Lily Puspasari, a program management specialist at United Nations Women in Indonesia. With schools closed and disruptions at the workplace becoming the norm, including working from home, Lily said there was bound to be “more roles expected from women”. "Our data shows that women do domestic work four times more than men," she told the Post on Monday.

A recent UN Women report, titled The First 100 Days of the COVID-19 Outbreak in Asia and the Pacific: A Gender Lens, also highlights this impact on women, noting that across the region, "the unequal distribution of unpaid care and domestic work between women and men is a major barrier to gender equality and women’s empowerment."

The report also highlights how women were growing increasingly vulnerable economically, as they are found to be over-represented in sectors and jobs hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak – in manufacturing, textiles and garments, care services, hospitality and tourism – and in employment with the least protections, including in the informal domestic sector and self-employment. It also notes that women were at an increased risk of domestic violence during quarantine measures. (Read full article here.)

If you want to help in the fight against COVID-19 in Indonesia, please visit the up-to-date list of community initiatives designed to aid medical workers and low-income people linked below:

[UPDATED] Anti-COVID-19 initiatives: Helping Indonesia fight the outbreak

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