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Opinion | Digitalization Challenges for Women Micro-Entrepreneurs

The decrease in physical interaction and mobility resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people’s livelihoods, especially women micro-entrepreneurs, who sell their products at mobile food stalls, warung (small kiosks), and tourist sites.

Made, a craftswoman in her 50s from Gianyar, Bali, depends on selling small wooden decorations and bracelets for her living in Sukawati. Her income has decreased by 80 percent since Bali closed its doors to tourists. In December, her income has been slowly recovering but has yet to reach its pre-pandemic level.

She has tried to sell her products through social media and e-commerce platforms. However, the results have not been as good as expected. She has found it difficult to be bound to her phone, to pay for phone credit, to take good photos of her products, and to market them online. Micro-entrepreneurs, according to Law No. 20/2008, have annual sales of no more than Rp 300 million with a maximum asset value of Rp 50 million, excluding land and buildings used for business.

There is no publicly available data on the number of women micro-entrepreneurs like Made. In 2017, Seno-Alday and Bourne from the University of Sydney, using 2015 population data, estimated that the number was 24.7 mill