The Roles of Woman as Leader and Housewife
Journal of Defense Management

Journal of Defense Management
Open Access

ISSN: 2167-0374

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Mini Review - (2015) Volume 5, Issue 1

The Roles of Woman as Leader and Housewife

Niniek Fariati Lantara*
Indonesian Moslem University, Urip Sumoharjo Street km 5, Makassar, Indonesia
*Corresponding Author: Niniek Fariati Lantara, Indonesian Moslem University, Urip Sumoharjo Street Km 5, Makassar, Indonesia Email:


Emancipation of woman in various areas of life has been discussed lately. Achievement and skill pointed out by woman nowadays make us consider that women and men are not differ much. It is seen by leadership and roles of women in various areas. Power of being stiff, tough, and accurate in making decision are characteristics of women for which they are required by a leader. Burden and responsibility of a female leader is more than responsibility of man as woman has double play either for being a mother in the household or a woman in the other womanly responsibilities. Equality between men and women will not be a waste of time effort if women act upon her ability to be competitive with men to their womanhood.

Keywords: Female leader; Household


When time goes by, point of view toward women, from which women deserved to keep the house only and stayed at home all the time while men had to work outside to the current development when emancipation arises, makes women get equal rights to men.

The struggle for women to obtain equal rights emphatically was pioneered by RA. Kartini, though some other women in Indonesia had the same struggle. Her struggle was an idea to make women have modern thought and act. Therefore, emancipation in various areas of life has pushed previous point of view aside as proposed by [1] stating women and men have their own position in social life. The two parties may stand in fair proportion because thought and intelligence will determine equal self-esteem between man and woman.

We found many jobs are occupied by men and women to which the women shall not pull out their innate characteristics. Even if the women become the office head or president, what are required by these positions are intelligence and thought as the role holder.

For sure, emancipation of women is grounded on some opinions that there are not many differences between men and women as suggested by the first president of the Republic of Indonesia, Sukarno, in 1963 that quality of female brains is not less than men’s, or intellectual acuity of women is not less than men’s [2]. Both quality of brains and intellectual acuity are same; however, it was just driven by different chance to work and to develop given by society [3]. Women shall make an effort to break the social injustice toward women.

It has been clear that women have equal position to attempt and to work, but culture of society has suppressed women to stay at home and to keep the house. However, time is changing where men and women can cooperate in various areas of life. Simply put, women shall be given a chance to tell us that they are capable of developing nation in conformity with our ideals.

As proposed by [4] stating that women’s capability is more apparent in various kinds of jobs and professions. Almost all women are able to work as good as men can do, or none of jobs are impossible for women. Their works are not worse than men, with an exception if the job require a lots of energy, such as harbor porter. On the contrary, there is an occupation which will be more effective if it is performed by woman as it requires womanhood.

Progress and career achieved by woman are not given on the basis of sympathy; it is a matter of struggle with no gender discrimination or distinction. Greenstein [5], suggests that women themselves shall work hard in cooperation to let their voice be heard and to reveal their perspective on conference table while making decision. Woman have to be ready to meet the new challenge including making decision by her own consideration. Specifically, it applies to knowledge, engineering, mathematics, and technology to allow woman move forward.

Equality of women and men will not be wasted away if the women are mobilized their abilities to achieve it. When women’s abilities are same as men, they shall be in competition against men to live, without losing their womanhood [6]. Emancipation owned by Indonesian woman has covered women’s political participation and leadership. Having the same right as the man has does not mean that the person concerned has to got out of her responsibilities as a housewife.

The Role of Women in the Household

Woman in her life has more heavier responsibilities than men. Double play of a woman today has not only responsibilities at home as a housewife, but also out of door as career woman. In a simple way, Suwondo (1981) suggests that roles of women are

a. Being member of a country in regard to civil rights and politics; it includes fair deal to female labor force participation, also called as external function.

b. Being a mother in a family and wife in the husband-wife household, also called as internal function.

These internal and external functions are foundation for woman, especially for those who have career, so woman has to be capable of managing roles to prevent two-side roles negligence. Negligence will bring imbalance when some women frequently prefers one role and leave the others. If career is preferred, some of them face threat of broken home or worse, i.e. divorce. There are also women who prefer their career than marriage where that the person concerned lives alone or remain unmarried [7]. For those married women who prefer the second role, they sacrificed their career or resigned from an occupation to be a housewife who keep staying at home. It is regrettable since inner potential ability of these women will be sunk or buried forever. Therefore, woman who takes one role only is not so favorable for life establishment. For this reason, those outstanding and unbeatable women shall fight for meeting the challenge if they take both roles. However, there must be mutual understanding between husband and wife and they have to complement each other in their family.

Applicable tradition in Indonesia up to now indicates that it is not an obligation of married woman to work in formal area, but it depends on economic capacity and permission of the husband. On the basis of this tradition, relationship of husband and wife or relationship of woman and family may raise an issue if the woman is working. Some points of view causing women do not work or do not perform external function, or they perform it involuntarily due to certain reason are stated by [8,9] as follows:

a. Unmarried woman or divorced woman, basically, does not want to work, but she has no capacity to pay for the necessities of life.

b. Unmarried woman or divorced woman who is glad about her job and she has enough money to meet the needs, but her family opposes her preference to work.

c. Unmarried woman or divorced woman has desire to work, but she does not have knowledge and fund to meet the daily needs.

d. Woman has got married, but the husband has an opinion that the breadwinner shall be the husband only, and husband’s income exceeds the needs for clothing, shelter and recreation for both of them.

e. Woman has got married, but the husband has an opinion that the breadwinner shall be the husband only, although husband’s income is not sufficient for their food, clothing and shelter.

f. Woman has got married and keep working under the husband’ permission, then they have a child. Woman keep on having job, although husband’s income is enough to meet the needs for wife and children.

g. Woman has got married and keep working under the husband’ permission, then they have a child. Basically, woman is not sure to keep working, but husband’s income is not sufficient to meet their needs when they have a child.

Explanation above is an illustration of today’s women condition in Indonesia. There is an uncertainty among their desire to work, prohibition to work, or they do not want to work due to reasonable reason. For those who want to keep working, here are some reason they have, as proposed by [8,9]:

a. Economic factor.

b. Parents of the woman give her a chance to pursue knowledge that will let the woman has skills to make her livelihood.

c. Woman has an awareness to have a career.

Motive to work does not permanently suit her fancy. There may be some reason on why the woman has to leave her job. Woman who works in formal and informal sectors in external function can not refuse to carry out her responsibility of being a mother in internal function. Further role of woman in external function is her contribution in nation development and building [10,11] as follows:

a. A whole development requires maximal participation of men and women in all areas of development. Therefore, women have equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities as men have to fully participate in all areas of development.

b. The roles of women in nation development does not cut her roles down in family prosperity improvement, in general, and youth development, in particular in purpose to build the perfect Indonesian man.

c. In order to give women opportunities and responsibilities in nation development, knowledge and skills shall be improved in various areas on the demand.

Roles of women is a concept which have to be done by Indonesian women to perform their external function [12].

Further, [13] suggests that women’s responsibilities in the family and society in internal and external functions are:

a. As a wife, a woman is expected to stand next to her husband as beloved wife and best friend to build a teamwork in establishing happy family;

b. As a mother, she is expected to be an educator and supervisor of the youth to provision them with spiritual and physical strength to fight for challenges today, and to make them fit for nation.

c. As a manager, she is expected to make home comfort and well-managed for all members of the family.

d. As an employer in an organization, she works in government, in private firm, or in political party, or may be she runs a private enterprise or in other field of works to increase family income.

e. As a member of social organization, especially women’s organization, social institution or other organization, she gives energy for social life.

Above duties are multiple roles in and out of the house in purpose to let women participate in the development process. Then, duties of household and career will give her huge problems in her life as proposed by [14] that

- there is a woman with high ideals and talent that make her dedicate herself for the thing she loves and she stay single;

- there is a woman who cannot live happily if she has to dedicate herself to a family, or if she has to be a housewife in entire of her life;

- there is a skilled woman and, perhaps, her ambition makes the woman prioritize career above family. This condition may lead to divorce.

- There is a woman who takes a golden mean because she has a job, so she accepts her double role by trying to combine both duties at her best.

- This woman shall understand what will obstruct success of her career, but she shall take into consideration that family is also important.

Therefore, the best way for women is by making division between duties of being a mother and of being career woman. The main responsibility above all for woman is on establishment for happy and prosperous family. Simply put, a woman has duties of being mother and household manager; it is a kind of whole-heart duty to stand her own family up as a part of society. The goals of this effort are firm, fame, safe, peaceful and harmonious family among social life. As a mother, a woman may make friendship, family relationship with other families in the environment where she lives in, in peace and harmonious.

Responsibility to the family makes family rubs along with together and harmonious. She works, makes an effort, gives everything she has for the integrity of the family whole-heartedly and takes care of family’s honor sincerely together with the husband and their children. As a spouse, a woman shall have belief that the family will stand right and authoritative if both woman as the mother and man as the head of household are balanced, harmonious and in perfect union on the basis of understanding, awareness and sacrifice. Mother in the household has important and prominent roles, particularly in guiding and bringing up children. The roles are also applicable for household management [15].

Woman Leadership Styles

At first, some people had doubts about woman in formal leader position considering appearance of woman is different from man. However, this judgment had been broken by skills and achievements they have. Leadership, no matter who stand in this position man or woman, has the same goals.The difference is only in physical appearance as suggested by [16], leadership is a form of dominance built by personal capability which is able to encourage or invite other people to perform something on the basis of acceptance of this group of people. Leadership proposes appropriate particular competence for specific condition.

A leader with particular competence whose capability is accepted by his group belongs to informal leader since the leadership emphasizes more at special features, in particular place and individual. Accordingly, the leader is elected based on particular skills or competences, instead of the ability to lead. For example, a group of women with their skills in making batik will elect the best batik maker to be their leader. This voting system also applies to a group of women with their skills in tenun making where the best tenun maker will be their leader [17].

Leader in formal organization has dominance over managers established by principles of management. Accordingly, domination is institutional and it is not connected to personal characteristics; for example, when a woman becomes headmaster, her subordinates, either teachers or administrative staffs are obedient to her leadership, instead of the person of the leader, as their formal leader. It is necessary to investigate woman leadership which can put her on the same level as the man if the person herself has N-ach to attain an achievement. Accordingly, M. Clelland suggests mental virus, i.e. certain way of thinking which is rarely found, but when it exists, it can encourage the person to work hard.

It is named as N-ach (need for achievement), i.e. a need to grasp success or achievement. It is found in a kind of thought regarding how to “behave better” or “behave much better” than the previous act. It also involves how to make something more efficient and faster, with less energy, but still to achieve the better outcome, etc. Therefore, what is expected of a leader is the better outcome and the more glorious work achievement before now. Woman leadership will be acknowledged by her subordinates or other people because of her success leadership, especially when goals of the institution where she work in are achieved.

When woman become a formal leader, as career woman, she will face many problems either in her career or household. This dualism roles has been proposed by [18] stating that if every woman becomes housewife, courage to have a career, definitely, has to be supported by sufficient capability. However, having career encourages the woman to have strong will and concentration which were not a demand for woman. Thus, courage is not possessed by woman at once. Elaboration of ambition, confidence to lead, and effort to gain success ambition is performed in real life based on the particular ethics and morality which are not substantively possessed by woman.

Competence, ambition and success are achieved by having regard to her role as a housewife and by working together with men. Woman leadership is seen by her maturity to solve various problems she faces, especially if she is well qualified for the field to which she led without ignoring womanhood. Therefore, woman leadership shall be redefined as proposed by [17,18]. He states that concept of leadership which is man-like characterized leadership shall be ready to be redefined in a such way that there is possibility to define woman-like characterized leadership.

The society has assigned image of motherhood to a high position, so it can prop up a leader as a mom and it has been driven to that course. Leadership means competition and hierarchy which relates to the matter of dominance and responsibility. Considering woman point of view, this definition need redefinition just the same as redefinition of dominance which is redefined based on cultural context we face. At last, leadership can be defined as a state of maturity. Maturity, whereas, is ability to manage dilemma, internalization and manifestation, integrity and participation.

Personality trait of a leader is made up of maturity, i.e. a state when masculinity is grown up in the person of woman and so does femininity in the person of man. Leadership also combines masculine and feminine maturity grown up in one person including firmness and sensitivity, courage and gentleness, stiffness and full of empathy [19].

Leadership aims at developing androgyny for man and woman. Accordingly, woman will not ignore masculinity development. Woman who is able to behave and to act as a leader will have multiple personality either feminine woman or masculine woman because she is firm, courage, and stiff. These traits is necessary for making appropriate decision like the man can do. Without these required traits, leadership will face difficulties, considering many opinions that woman is weak person, even if it is not true.

Frequently as a leader, woman faces many objection from cultural attitude of society considering that man functions as guard and head of a family. So does physical obstacle where woman is underestimated by her incapability of performing heavy duties. In details, [20,21], outline some obstacles to the leadership of woman as follows:

First, physical obstacles. Woman is burdened by “contractual duty” to be pregnant with, to give birth to and to nurse a child. This necessity reduces freedom to keep active in various areas of life. Just imagine if a woman has to be pregnant with more than a dozen children. For sure, her working age would be used up for this honorable duties.

Second, theological obstacle. For a long time, woman was seen as an human being for man. The duties cover standing next to man, making him comfort and providing his needs. Woman, based on theological views, woman was created from the rib of man. This story has been stuck in people’s mind, and physiologically, it becomes one of obstructing factors for woman to participate in significant role.

Third, sociocultural obstacles. It mainly forms a stereotype. It is a thought where woman is passive, weak, sensitive, dependent and surrender person. Just the opposite, man is regarded as active, strong intelligent, independent person and other superior qualities. This view set the man, socioculturally, has higher “position” than the woman [22,23].

Fourth, obstacles of point of view. This obstacle, for example, emerges as the consequence of dichotomous thinking between responsibilities of men and women. Woman is accounted as homebody, while man is seen as out of home person. Such dichotomous point of view might make woman uncomfortable to go out, while man disregards household matters because they are inappropriate for them

Fifth, historical obstacle. It is just a few names of women in history of ancient times which may confirm women’s incapability to participate at a same count as men had.

The five obstacles obstruct potential leadership of women move forward to achieve appropriate position in life. However, information and communication stream absorbed and accepted by women give them opportunity to grow their personality and leadership. For those women possessing sufficient education in conformity with Compulsory Education Act, this progress has give them a chance to have career in accord with their capability [24,25]. Overflowing information stream received at home via television, radio, newspaper or magazine broaden female horizon to extend their dreams.

If a woman only acts upon her duty as a housewife who has to give birth to a child at all times, for sure her opportunity to develop herself will be taken over to be pregnant with, to give birth and to take care of the child [26]. Then, when contraceptive device was invented, it cuts down birth rate, and can make it seldom, so opportunity to bring up the child and to improve herself will be higher [27].

To be a female leader, what is the most important thing is capability which shall be backed up by educational background in accord with her field of work. According to [8,28]: in purpose to be a success leader, there are some principles of leadership, they are (a) intelligence which shall be relatively better than subordinates people, (b) positive thinking, (c) social and vast-range maturity, (d) good leader, (e) good listener, (f) openness in communication, and (g) immunity from problems.

These principles of leadership are direction for leader to be applied in managing organization to reach goals of organization [29,30]. If the principles are carried out, there are no differences between man and woman. By conducting the principles, the organization or institution will work properly and risks will be minimized. Therefore, anywhere the woman lives, the same chance shall be given to her. This opinion is proposed by [20,31], as follows:

a. Woman leadership in the recent and future development will bring potential and key position in political, economic, sociocultural, and religion development of the nation.

b. Woman leadership may be developed when woman education is improved equal to man.

c. Woman leadership shall be proclaimed important and necessary to be developed in all areas and in all levels.

d. Male leader shall be convinced that woman leadership is important and that women will not compete with man leadership. Indeed, it will complement and enrich man leadership. Therefore, man leadership shall give a capacious opportunities to female leader.

The government together with women’s organizations shall make a “masterplan” on how to improve woman leadership in all aspects of life of the nation and of the country [32]. Hence, woman leadership will function as the partner of man leadership and woman has obvious portion to participate in the development of the nation and of the country. Sooner or later, position and leadership of woman will be evidently equal to men that there will be no gender segregation in making an effort or give dedication to the development and ideas of nation [33,34].


Proud achievements and skills pointed out by women has proved that women have similarities with men.

In this regard, women may have double play of being successful woman (career woman) without breaking the woman’s nature as a housewife in which the household is her responsibility.

One of proof that woman works well beyond her world can be seen in leadership roles. Besides, skills, ambition, success of women in leadership may reach beyond men because they have ability of being stiff, tough, and accurate in making precise decision for which these characteristics are required by a leader.

Burden and responsibility of a female leader or other career woman are huge. Woman shall not only have a career, but she also has responsibility to be a housewife at home. Such responsibility, indeed, is not belong to man.

Struggle for equality between men and women will not end in smoke if the women are acting upon her ability. Thus, having the same ability will make women capable of being competitor of men to their womanhood.


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Citation: Lantara NF (2015) The Roles of Woman as Leader and Housewife. J Def Manag 4:125.

Copyright: © 2015 Lantara NF. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.