Patriarchy, Fatherlessness, and the Impact to Children’s Lives in Indonesia


Have you ever been nervous when talking to or asking your dad for something? Or has your relationship with your dad been awkward? Sometimes, you might not realize it, but some of you might have an awkward relationship with your dad. Like, you're okay, but you rarely share your stories with each other. However, not everyone has that awkward relationship.

One thing is for sure: for those of you who have a good or awkward relationship with your father, you should be grateful for at least having a father figure in your life. Why? Because there are many children out there who live without a father figure. As Khofifah Indar Parawansa said when she was the Minister of Social Affairs in 2017, Indonesia is the 3rd country in the world with the highest rate of fatherlessness. "Fatherless" or "father absence" itself is a condition without a father figure in a child's growth and development, both physically and psychologically. The father figure in question is not only a biological father but a male figure such as an uncle with a father-like role in childcare.

Then, what are the factors that cause this? There are many factors related to this phenomenon, but what we will discuss is the cultural factor where there is a patriarchal saying that says, "Tugas ayah mencari nafkah, dan tugas ibu merawat rumah tangga." Many people still think that it is only the father's job to provide financial support and the mother's job to take care of the household. Although nowadays, mothers also have the opportunity to pursue a career, they are also required to take care of children and husbands. Meanwhile, if the husband works, they are not required to take care of the household, such as cooking, taking care of children, or cleaning the house.

The report from Katadata.co.id in an article by Lidwina (2023), which is also sourced from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), shows the number of women who take care of households is 37.6 million, while men are only 3.6 million in the same year. In addition, based on data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) together with the State Ministry of Women's Empowerment (PPPA) in 2018, as many as 2.51% of children lived with biological fathers. As many as 8.34% of children lived with biological mothers. Then, 3.85 children did not live with both parents in 2021. However, 2.51% of children who live with their biological father do not necessarily get full attention from their father because they may be cared for by a maid or family, such as a grandma.

The role of a father is not only to provide financial support. A father has an important role in protecting the family and caring for the household, including childcare. For example, sharing housework with his wife protects the family by being firm, brave, independent, and confident. Taking an active role in parenting by spending quality time while teaching the values of life and religion, creating family rules, being a good listener, and always supporting children's decisions.

In the article by Retno (2017) writes that a father's role has many impacts on children, especially in psychological development. If the father figure is absent in the child's life, it makes the child become an unstable person, aggressive, depressed, who likes to do trouble and even commit crimes, then has low self-confidence. According to Agung Sugiato in an article by Farmita (2016), fatherlessness also makes the child have an interest in homosexuality because they gradually make the mother figure or all the traits that exist in the mother as a role model. These facts show how dangerous it is if the father's role is so minimal or even absent in the child's life.

Therefore, solutions are needed, such as conducting educational socialization in the community. This socialization talks about the understanding of fatherlessness and the importance of the role of fathers in the family who are not just providing financial tasks. Let's start building communication and mutual self-evaluation between families. It prevents children from growing up without a father's role in their lives.

Writer: Alfina Nurzaima Editor: Septian Paradesa


Farmita, A. R. (2016, February 19). Krisis Karakter Ayah dalam Keluarga Lahirkan LGBT? - Gaya Tempo.co. Gaya. Retrieved October 14, 2023, from https://gaya.tempo.co/read/746721/krisis-karakter-ayah-dalam-keluarga-lahirkan-lgbt

Lidwina, A. (2023, May 12). Ironi ‘Fatherless Country’ dalam Citra Keluarga Ideal Indonesia. Retrieved from katadata.co.id: https://katadata.co.id/ariayudhistira/analisisdata/64618dee06caa/ironi-fatherless-country-dalam-citra-keluarga-ideal-indonesia

Retno, D. (2017, October 30). 17 Dampak Psikologis Anak Tanpa Ayah - DosenPsikologi.com. Dosen Psikologi. Retrieved October 14, 2023, from https://dosenpsikologi.com/dampak-psikologis-anak-tanpa-ayah