At first, Tiwi’s work was caring for her family. But with the cost of living in Indonesia on the rise, Tiwi needed more money just to keep up. So, like many women between the ages of 20 and 50 in her country, Tiwi started working on contract, making leather goods for a local factory.
But there was a downside. Contract work allows factories to subvert minimum wage laws, ignore working conditions and undermine relationship and solidarity building amongst women workers who fiercely compete for contracts.
Despite these obstacles, Tiwi was promoted to a day laborer position. Unfortunately, day laborers are not entitled to transportation, a uniform, and meals like permanent factory workers. So during the rainy season, she worked outside without a raincoat because the factory only gave them to permanent workers.
Undeterred, Tiwi became involved with Global Fund for Women grantee partner, Yasanti, one of the only female trade unions in Indonesia. She and her colleagues learned the value and purpose of labor unions and leadership. Yasanti organizes local labor groups and connects women from different sectors to regional labor networks. An important advocate and voice, Yasanti speaks truth to business owners who can influence government.
Tiwi took the skills from Yasanti back to her factory, organized her coworkers, and called a meeting with the management to demand raincoats. The negotiations were successful: day laborers got raincoats and improved facilities to keep them dry during the rainy season.
Today, Tiwi continues to collaborate with Yasanti to fight for the rights of women workers in her community.