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Masculinity Vs Femininity in Indonesia (Hofstede' Cultural Dimensions


1. Introduction
The very complex process of teaching and learning has been affected by many factors such as
advances in technology, shifts in the approach to teaching, changes in government funding
policies and cultural shifts in gender relationships. Knowing all of these factors can help both
teachers and learners in delivering and catching information in order to achieve learning
opportunities in valuing, developing and supporting the essential of life through learning itself.
The objective of this study is to investigate Hofstedes cultural dimension of masculinity and
femininity as it is related to the learner attitudes and behavior. Amidst controversy of criticism
and praise Prof. Geert Hofstedes cultural dimensions has proven their validity over the passage
of application and scrutiny. This paper presents several examples of his point of view based on
my own opinion, the case studies of gender roles within teaching and learning processes mostly
in Indonesia. In doing so, it develops how cultural dimension of masculinity and femininity can
influence learners attitudes and behavior.
2. Education and Cultural Dimensions
When we talk about education, we cannot separate among teachers, students, parents,
educational administrators, government, society and cultures around society. Due to this fact,
Bob and Jennie Teasdale claim that the contribution of education and all aspects related with it
can create the surviving culture (1992, p.1). They believe that nowadays many cultures
especially small culture are in danger because of the mass communications and modern
technologies as the impact of consumerism, competitiveness and individualism of the
westernization so called cultural standardization process.
As E. B. Taylor points out, commonly, sociologists comprehend that the transmission of culture
from each generation is the educational function. Furthermore, he believes that humans as parts
of the society and customs have acquired very complex culture such as law, belief, art,
knowledge, moral, and others capabilities. Accordingly, a concern with culture in its relevance to
education emphasizes how the process of culture transmitted (cited in Stenhouse 1971, p. 1-3).
All societies educate people (Wheeler, 1967, p. 11). Indeed, both formal and informal education
is major processes in maintenance of a society. By formal education we mean the deliberate
attempt by one or more persons to affect changes in the behavior of one or more persons by
presenting certain experiences. Informal education, on the other hand, may be thought of as the
process whereby behavioral changes occur as a result of experiences in situation which do not
fall into the previous category. The distinction between formal and informal education arises

from the conscious, planned attempt at changes on the part of the social agent.
As the education always takes place in a particular society, it is evident that any study must be
concerned with these several factors just like Dr. Geert Hofstede mentioned in his research
related to the cultural dimension; they are power distance index, individualism versus its
opposite collectivism, masculinity versus its opposite femininity and uncertainty avoidance
index. In some opinion, people put another dimension as the fifth dimension that is long-term
orientation versus short-term orientation also called as Confucianism and dynamism. It has been
suggested that all of the functions of these cultural dimensions are to pass on selected social
heritage. This idea means that, as well as the all of these five factors, some consideration must
also be based on the experiences and the content offered within the school to achieve the goal of
teaching and learning processes.
2.1. Power Distance Index
Power distance index is represented by the social strata based on the their own authorities from
the top level to the bottom level in their communities, also between the more powerful to the less
powerful (Dekker et al, 2008, p. 443). Consequently, this dimension is a substantive hierarchical
system of authority. In Indonesia, the more power with tier welding is very prevailing in formal
hierarchy than the rank below. Moreover, the conception of law and policy, for example, is
planned and made by the government according to its own concept of culture, its socio-economy
system, political ideology and technical development in various member states. However, this
method of making policy has certain problems in administrative and largely institutional level.
Indonesians also have inequality wealth within society as part of their cultural heritage. In
teaching and learning process, a student who has more knowledge always be the center of the
class. They will always hold the role of the class and become motivation for other students,
especially in class discussion when they need to deliver ideas.
2.2. Individualism and Collectivism
This dimension represents the opinions and beliefs of the autonomy, innovation, performance
and achievement of the people in society. In this dimension, likewise, the issue between
individual and his or her fellow, family, tribes or even village involved the relationships
(Hofstede, 1983, p. 79). Furthermore, Jones assumes that this dimension will measure the ability
of people working in group or individual, also measure the integration level of people in
society/community (2007, p. 4).
Indonesians are more collective. They hold their traditions tightly. The principle of Bhineka
Tunggal Ika (unity in diversity) was adopted for the emblem of the republic. Indonesian idea
regarding belief in God, tolerance, humanity, democracy and social justice are incorporated in
the Pancasila (Five Principle), the ideology which reflects basic thinking and the country's way
of life as the reflection of collectivism. In classroom interaction, students always speak
courteously to the teacher even their colleagues when they are arguing about a topic of
discussion. Trying to solve problem wisely without pushing other people away is the main point.
2.3. Masculinity and Femininity

Giving us visions something related to the roles between females and males in emotional
division, gender becomes an issue in promoting or hiring people to the better position in society
or organization. Indonesians show more compassion and tenderness than other cultures because
of their socio-cultural interference cultural urge.
2.4. Uncertainty Avoidance Index
This index represents whether people feel comfort or secure with unstructured situation,
uncertain events, chaos and risks. Moreover, it is about how people take action in order to
achieve their future goal and good inherent balance in controlling the situations. For future event,
Indonesian tends to prepare and arrange everything. All culture needs to make a perfect decision
of the unknown.
2.5. Long Term Orientation and Short Term Orientation
As such, it is associated with people through particular criteria such as reciprocal, obligation,
honesty and loyalty. In addition, this term is connected with having good behaviors in
relationships. Indonesians tend to be more long-term oriented than short-term one.
3. Masculinity Vs Femininity and Learners Attitudes and Behavior in Indonesia
In Indonesia, masculinity and femininity are in the same level, while women have the same
rights, opportunities and orientation with men in all aspects; including occupation, delivering
ideas and many others things. Women power growth, economy rapid growth, and globalization
are the main factors of womens role changing in many Asian countries including Indonesia
(Chang, 2003, p. 568-569).
Initially, this situation was totally different in the past when woman should be the one who cares
for children and the housework related matters, whilst man is the person who has to provide
everything for the family welfare. Furthermore, in negotiation process, professional and
managerial ranks, men have more opportunity than women and leave women behind. As a
representation of male-dominated society, value and heritage family assets, having at least one
son in the family becomes the big expectation to almost Indonesian parents. Nowadays, women
become more adaptable with men. The equivalence principle of gender becomes more
comfortable and treats them the same as men.
Research on gender has now been conducted, such as teacher's gender affects learning, singlesex education, and so forth. A case study by Brook & Mackinnon (2001) found that boys were
more disruptive and girls were less disorderly when they have female teacher in their class.
Conversely, in male teacher class, boys were more confident to ask question than girls. Some
people still argue that students success cannot depend on the teacher gender but smaller class
sizes, modern equipment, experienced teachers and good textbooks are the factors influencing it.
Although masculinity and femininity in Indonesia are in the same level, men still sometimes
have more power. In class discussion, for instance, boys always become the group leader or team
and brave to deliver ideas, while girls usually become the group member and silent. Chang

(2003, p. 569) stated that when women play more important role in class, the degree of
competition, control and assertive behaviors will be decreased apparently.
4. Conclusion
There are very close connection among culture, education, learners attitudes, and behavior. All
of these factors can improve and expand the personal as well as professional growth, and
development of teachers and learners. Since technology has been rising, culture also changes to
be more flexible, including the concept of masculinity and femininity. In Indonesia, the concept
of gender has been changed because of some factors such as economy, globalization, and
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