Speaking about Balinese women, we will speak about endurance, patience, love and care and of course, hard workers. The women do all the work while men go to tajen (cockfighting) is the image of Balinese society seen by the outsider and there is some truth in it. The cockfighting is seldom held nowadays maybe once in a month or two, but the Balinese women are still a hard worker.
Balinese women are independent women, tough and hard working. The household duties that are entrusted to the women are exhausting and need a lot of patience such as taking care of the households, preparing the religious offering, taking care of the children, managing the budgets and working in the rice field or office.
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Balinese women are the backbone of Balinese society and culture. In other societies, men are the ones involved in trade but in Bali, the buying and selling activity is the privilege of women. When you visit a Balinese traditional market, you are entering a women’s kingdom. Streets are filled with warung (food and daily needs stalls) run by the women. In the households, it is the women who keep the money. Men usually hand their income to them so that it is managed in the right way. Women also play the central role in the ritual process from the preparation for the ceremony to the actual running of the ceremony. The women start to prepare the ceremony a month before the day on which the ceremony will be held but men start to work for the ceremony a week or less before the ceremony is held.
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In the political and social life of the banjar (sub village) or village, sometimes women are inferior to men. In Banjar meetings or village meetings there are no woman participants. The decisions that are made rarely take any notice of women’s interests. There is no theoretical discrimination between men and women although in practice, both men and women have their own traditional responsibilities. Women sell in the market, buy the daily need, cook, take care of the children and do the household duties. Besides working in the rice field or office, men attend to their banjar duties and participate in banjar or village activities that are more like a gathering than a duty or work.
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What makes the Balinese women so strong? Balinese women are accustomed to hardship. In a Balinese family, a daughter is considered as a loss. In this sense, someday, she will be married, leaves her home and stays with her husband. she no longer belongs to her parents’ family; she no longer prays in her parent’s family temple but instead she prays in her husband’s family temple. She no longer serves her parents but instead she serves her husband’s parents. But a son is considered as a blessing since, he will take care of his parents in their old days. A son is spoiled, given more attention and receives constant care by his parents even by his sister. This situation makes Balinese women strong and ready to face any hardship.
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Some photos are taken from www.flickr.com and www.trekearth.com