The roles of Indonesian women today are being affected by many factors, including increased modernization, globalization, improved education and advances in technology (in particular communications technology). Many women in Indonesia choose to reside in cities instead of staying in townships to perform agricultural work because of personal, professional, and family-related necessities, and economic requirements. These women are moving away from the traditional dictates of Indonesian culture, wherein women act simply and solely as wives and mothers. At present, the women of Indonesia are also venturing actively into the realm of national development, and working as active members of organizations that focus and act on women's issues and concerns.
President Sukarno with leaders of the Indonesian Women's Congress in June 1950.
Many pregnant women in Indonesia do not have the financial capability to pay for hospital deliveries and birthing by Caesarian section, because of disproportionate salaries and medical expenses. Thus, these women require the support and assistance of "birth sanctuaries" that provide "free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid", such as the Yayasan Bumi Sehat (Healthy Mother Earth Foundation) health clinics established by Robin Lim, an Americanmidwife, in 2003. Such 24-hour nativity havens, mostly located in Bali and Aceh, help Indonesian women to escape the common practice of private hospitals in Indonesia that entails detaining newborn infants until medical bills are fully remunerated by the birth mothers.
Nonetheless, the economy now seems to be improving (high GDP growth in 2012 as high as 6.2%) and some programs had been done by the government to help promote the health and welfare of women and child. A ministry that especially concerns in the field had been established for a long time since the regime of the late President Soeharto on Orde Baru.
After a surge of foreign multinational investors began investing in Indonesia during the 1970s, many Indonesian women became the "prime workforce" and a source of cheap laborers in manufacturing businesses. In the 1990s, some women in Indonesia, including adolescents and the homeless, resorted to engage in employment as sex workers and housemaids due to financial hardship. Some of the women who were forced into such work opted to go abroad, into countries such as Saudi Arabia and Thailand. Some have since become victims of torture, sexual abuse, murder, illegal detention, rape, sodomy, and other forms of sexual assault. Health-wise, as a consequence of becoming prostituted by human traffickers, some have contracted HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Indonesia was one of the few nations in the world to elect a female president, Megawati Sukarnoputri. In 2012, 18% of National Parliamentary representatives were held by women.Ratu Atut Chosiyah is one example of the rising numbers of female leaders throughout Indonesia. More and more women are becoming scholars, as in schools proven that female students in the recent years excels more than their male competitors. The ratio of girls to boys in primary and secondary schools is also even as of 2013. More scholarships awarded by the Indonesian government (and some other institutions other than the government) were given to women, and resulted in higher achievement in their later life. In most major cities like Jakarta and Surabaya, the educated female workforce tends to postpone the marital age and girls who finish secondary school are six times less likely to marry early. Indonesian women could be making considerable shifts to national employment - women currently hold 33% of non-agricultural employment as they also work in the prestigious and traditionally male-dominated field such as architecture, medicine, and engineering. Despite for infamously known for the blue collar low-waged workers in the neighbouring countries, most of Indonesian females work as professionals abroad.