Women’s Education

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This section discusses the method used for the study, the research process is reviewed step by step,​​and​​finally​​the​​difficulties​​encountered​​during​​the​​course​​of​​the​​study​​are​​considered.

Qualitative​​ Study

A qualitative approach allows this study to gain a deeper understanding of the complexity of empowerment that the study aims to explore, as well as increases the ability to understand the women in Bali and changes experienced. Qualitative interviews give respondents space to explain their thoughts about the research theme and enable the study to interpret and find deeper meaning in the data (Hjelm, Lindgren & Nilsson, 2014). The authors prioritized the understandings of the Indonesian women themselves and consequently used their stories as the basis of the analysis. Personal stories were preferred in this study, because empowerment contains an irreducibly subjective element, but sought to interpret the findings on the basis of this larger context referring to previous research. According to Hjelm, Lindgren & Nilsson (2014), another advantage is that the deeper understanding and the more detailed statements for which a longer discussion on the research issue often results in, can be better used to chart causal relationships. A respondent’s presentation of her thoughts or about an event is often much more informative than the answers to any questionnaire. However, this stress on qualitative interviews should not be taken as a negation of other more objective forms of data. ​The quantitative methods for example, plays a valuable role in providing knowledge of incidence and magnitude, helping to distinguish between those which are widespread and those which are relevant only to a minority. In comparison, one of the disadvantages of qualitative theory testing is that the results ​​can​​not ​​easily​​ be​​ generalized ​​as ​​the​​number ​​of ​​people​​ interviewe d​​is​​limited.
When exploring the research theme in a foreign setting like Bali the use of semi-structured questions is beneficial. It offered the study both flexibility and structure. When aiming at gaining knowledge on a deeper level this is preferable (Bryman, 2014). According to Hjerm, Lindgren & Nilsson (2014) flexibility is created by the fact that the answer alternatives are not fixed and determined by the interviewers. An argument against creating a detailed interview guide, is the risk that it could lock the interaction and limit the ability to understand the women’s experiences. Hence, it allowed for more control over direction while also enabling the responses to be more similar and comparable. This facilitated the analysis, especially in the case of theoretical testing. In addition, it became easier to create higher validity when the questions and the interview structure ​​were​​more​​or​​less​​determined​​in​​advance.


Twelve Indonesian women participated in the study. Participant selection was carried out so that the sample would represent a mixture of women that had participated in the BaliWISE program. The program is made up of marginalized poor women and girls between the ages of 17–24 years old from different parts of Indonesia who have all completed secondary school. Purposeful convenience and snowball sampling were used in the study. When using snowball sampling a small number of respondents were initially contacted for the study. These respondents helped in providing additional interviewees that may otherwise be hard to reach (Bryman, 2014). In purposeful sampling, respondents were selected with the assistants of the program staff at Bali WISE based on a preselected criteria. The goal was to interview to 10–15 women. During data collection the authors kept in mind that if the data reached theoretical saturation, which is the point where the newly collected material no longer provides additional insights, no further interviews would be needed. The criteria for eligibility in the study included having graduated from the program, residing and having current employment in Bali, Indonesia. The participants were selected as to increase variation (in age, profession and hometown) and thus our ability to shed light on the research question from several perspectives. The study uses fictive names for the​​women​​and​​below​​is​​a​​short​​description​​of​​the​​women​​interviewed.
Wayan, 21, comes from North of Bali. Her family is balinese-hindu. She is the oldest of 3 siblings and her parents are farmers. She graduated 2014 and works as a spa therapist and yoga teacher. Wayan enjoys​​yoga​​and​​has​​plans​​for​​the​​future​​to​​open​​her​​own​​yoga​​center.​​(Interviewed:​​11​–04–2017)
Icha, 20, comes from North of Bali. Her family is balinese-hindu. She is the oldest of 4 siblings and lives with 1 of her sisters. Her parents are farmers. She graduated in March, 2017 and works as a spa therapist.​​Icha​​strives​​to​​speak​​english​​fluently​​and​​work​​some​​time​​abroad.​​(Interviewed:​​11​–04–2017)
Nurul, 19, comes from North Bali. Her family is christian. She has 1 younger brother. She graduated September, 2016 and works as a booking-agent. Her mother works as a shopkeeper. Nurul would like to​​own​​a​​house​​one​​day​​and​​dreams​​of​​studying​​at​​university.​​(Interviewed:​​13​–04–2017)
Hana, 23, comes from East Java. Her family is muslim. She has 1 older brother. She graduated July, 2016. Hana is divorced with a son who lives with family in Java. She lives with her brother and works with accounting. Hana wants to be able to take care of her son and strives to be a carrier women. (Interviewed:​​15​–04–2017)
Dina, 26, comes from East Timor. Her family is christian. She is the oldest of 3 siblings. She graduated from the program in 2014. Dina was recently let go of her job at a tour agency and moved back with her​​family.​​She​​is​​currently​​engaged​​and​​wishes​​to​​have​​children.​​(Interviewed:​​15​–04–2017)
Farah, 18, comes from West Java. Her family is muslim. She has 1 older brother. She graduated March, 2017. Farah works at a tour agency while living in Bali. She aspires to find a better paid job and a scholarship​​in​​order​​to​​continue​​her​​education​​at​​university.​​(Interviewed:​​16​–04–2017)
Putri, 18, comes from North of Bali. Her family is balinese-hindu. She has 4 siblings. She graduated September, 2016 and lives with her older sister. Putri works in a hotel as a cooking assistant. She wants to have a house one day and strives to encourage people in her village to continue with their education. (Interviewed:​​16​–04–2017)
Sarah, 19, comes from North of Bali. Her family is balinese-hindu. She graduated March, 2017 and works as a spa therapist. Sarah wished to gain work experience abroad and build a house for her parents.​​(Interviewed:​​18​–04–2017)
Marti, 20, comes from East Java. Her family is muslim. She has 3 siblings. She graduated March, 2017 and works with tour and travel. ​Dina wishes to visit Mecca with family and future husband. (Interviewed:​​19​–04–2017)
Nadya, 18, comes East Java. Her family is christian. She has 1 younger brother. She graduated September, 2016. She has since then worked with tour and travel administration. (Interviewed: 19​–04–2017)
Shinta, 20, comes from North of Bali. Her family is balinese-hindu. She is the oldest of 4 siblings. She graduated March, 2017 and works as a receptionist at a tour and travel agency. She has a boyfriend and lives​​with​​her​​family.​​(Interviewed:​​20​–04–2017)
Alya, 23, comes from the Island of Flores. Her family is christian. She has 8 siblings. She graduated September, 2016 and works at a tour and travel agency. She has a boyfriend and currently lives with a friend.​​(Interviewed:​​20​–04–2017)

Data​​ Collection

Semi-constructed interviews were conducted in cafés at various places in the south of Bali. The women were interviewed with both authors present and an unlicensed interpreter. The interview lasted between 30–75 minute. All interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. The semi-constructed interview guide was used in English and translated in Bahasa Indonesia when needed. The guide can be found in Appendix 2. The theoretical framework and previous research were used to create themes to ask relevant questions to the women. The first part was focused on gaining insight into their individual context, their background. The themes chosen we primarily focused on indicators presented by Golla (2011) about economic empowerment; vocational education / employment, control over assets, agency / decision-making, autonomy and mobility, self-confidence / self-efficacy and gender norms. The questions asked were open-ended and flexible to the individual respondent and her answers with support questions like​​“what​​do​​you​​mean​​when​​you​​say…?​​“can​​you​​give​​us​​an​​example?”.
Before and during the data collection, the study took into account the 10 criterias mentioned by Bryman (2014); Before conducting the interviews, going to through a process of familiarizing oneself with the focus of the interview by reading previous research but also engaging in conversation with similar women in Bali the study wished to interview as well as staff from the program. To make sure that the women had an understanding of the purpose of the interview an introduction guide was formed, so all the women would receive the same information. Thereafter, they were asked if they had any questions. This introduction can be found in Appendix 1. In order to make sure that there was a clear communication, questions, languages used and phrasings were corrected in the data collection process, showing consideration by giving time to respondents as well as remained sensitive and open to what the women wanted to share. In their response it was important to follow up with support questions to find deeper meaning and parallels in their stories. Throughout the interview process it was of importance be conscious​​about​​being​​objective​​and​​not​​affecting​​the​​respondents.


The transcribed interviews were analyzed using qualitative content analysis (Bryman, 2014). This procedure included several steps. The analysis started with an open reading of the text to acquire a sense of the whole in relation to the aim of the study. The women’s statements about their experiences were extracted and combined into one text, which is the unit of analysis. This text was then read through several times and divided into meaning units, which, in turn, were condensed and labeled with a code. A condensed meaning unit is characterized by a process of abbreviating while preserving the core of the text. The codes were compared, based on ​what the women have shared and then analyzed what change, similarities and differences could be found, we then sorted according to the general themes of their stories which represents the results of the study. In the final stage, we have looked at whether and how these themes relate to the theories we previously selected in our analytical framework. To increase trustworthiness, the authors participated in the entire process, from data collection to writing the manuscript. Representative quotations from the transcribed interviews were also chosen to increase trustworthiness,​​all​​in​​line​​with​​qualitative​​content​​analysis.
In line with hermeneutic interpretation by Steinar & Brinkmann (2009), the data process and analysis went through 8 stages. That is, 1) went through a process of moving back and forth between parts and wholes that follows the hermeneutic circle to draw a deeper understanding of the meaning of both the analytical framework chosen and the transcribed interviews. 2) The interpretation was perceived as finished when there was a good shape to the inner connection within the text, without logical contradictions. 3) The authors examined the interpreted parts of the text as a whole. 4) The transcribed texts from the interviews were firstly treated as autonomous i.e. understood as its own frame of reference, and what that says about the theme of the study. 5) Both of the authors participated during the interviews and therefore had knowledge of the context. 6) The authors were aware of their own perception and point of view which were considered and reflected upon during analysis. 7) By analyzing the text, the authors were presented​​with​​new​​knowledge​​and​​aspects​​that​​were​​not​​previously​​foreseen.


During this field study ethical considerations have been taken into account throughout the whole research process. Before performing the interviews there was a stage of exploration and familiarization of the work, living and other relevant environments for the people the study wished to interview in order to increase the understanding and the interpretation of the respondents. The respondents’ background, culture and religion have been considered and cultural and traditional differences respected, when operating in the domestic environment of the respondents. Since the interviews covered questions that might be sensitive it has been important to carefully choose how to word these questions in order not to cause any harm to the interviewees. During the entire research process it has been a major concern to stress out that the researcher’s aim is to listen and learn from the women and to get their perspective on the issue. ​The women were contacted and first informed about the study through phone to book a meeting. This information included the aim of the study, also underlining that the participation is voluntary and that the participants can withdraw from the study at any time. The respondents gave their informed consent to be a part of the study. The women were told that the study would be reported in such a way that they could not be recognized by others reading the report. Incentives​​like​​beverages​​were​​offered​​to​​the​​participants.

Methodological​​ Considerations

All interviews were analyzed, discussed, and reflected upon jointly by the authors, and the findings were illustrated using quotations from the interviews to establish trustworthiness. 12 interviews were conducted to shed light on the research question from a variety of perspectives, as the respondents varied in, for example, hometown, occupation, age and graduation year. This study​​accomplished​​the​​goal​​of​​interviewing​​between​​10–15​​indonesian​​women.
One limitation of the present study is that interviewees were conducted in semi-open spaces that could have affected what the women felt comfortable with sharing. The interviews were conducted by both authors present and an interpreter. There is a risk that the relation may affected the interview because of this. However, having both authors present offered another insight to interpreting the answers and to ask eventual follow up questions. It should be noted that the interpreter was not licensed, she had very occasionally interpreted before. Nevertheless, it is the opinion of the authors that she benefited the study in that she was a young women, had experience​​in​​hospitality​​and​​was​​raised​​in​​the​​rural​​areas​​of​​Bali.
It is important to consider what can be “lost in translation” when using a translator. Bujra (2006) discusses the both practical and technical issues of using an interpreter. One of the practical issues experienced was finding a professional translator and in what ways our translator should translate, causing there to sometimes be inadequate translation and need to stop and make corrections. Regarding the technical issues is that the translator may take their own judgements which may transform the message received. More generally, it is common for the translator to ‘filter out’ what they consider unimportant, even though this might be precisely what the research needs and wishes to know. Ideas and concepts from one language cannot always be translated into another, especially in cultures and languages that differ widely from each other, in this​​case​​Bahasa​​Indonesia​​and​​English.
The interviews were conducted in english and translated when needed in Bahasa Indonesia. The authors tried to remain open and sensitive to what the participants wanted to talk about. The interview guide had it basic themes, however, it evolved during the collection process the more the authors learnt about the participants and their context. Another limitation faced was the data construction and collection. This is believed to be an effect of how the interview guide was constructed and how it related to the aim of the study. It has also been challenging to fully grasp the concept of empowerment and how to formulate theories into everyday questions for the women to respond to. It is possible that this material does not give a full picture of what we aimed at investigating. However, does it it point to certain aspects that we were able explore and discuss that can be related to previous research and valuable for future work with vocational education​​and​​skill​​training​​for​​women.
It has been an advantage to use a qualitative approach to understand changes the women had undergone in their everyday life. The method was suitable because empowerment is believed to include a subjective element and it was important to give the women an opportunity to reflect. The age range of the respondents, the authors and the interpreter were female and between the ages of 18–26. It is the opinion of the authors that this was a benefit and helped with the power balance during the interviews. The authors experiences that this helped form a comfortable setting between the interviewers and the interviewees. In conclusion, being foreigners in Indonesia ​​and ​​new ​​with​​ the​​context,​​both ​​advantages and​​ disadvantages​​ were ​​identified.

Table of Contents
1. Introduction 
1.2 Purpose
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Delimitation
1.5 Disposition
2. Background and Analytical Framework 
2.1 Geographical Location
2.3 Women’s Education
2.4 BaliWISE Program
2.5 Defining Empowerment
2.6 Defining Economic Empowerment
3. Method 
3.1 Qualitative Study
3.2 Selection and Descriptions of Respondents
3.3 Data Collection
3.4 Data Processing and Analysis
3.5 Ethical Considerations
3.6 Methodological Considerations
4. Results 
4.1 Program
4.2 Gaining Employment
5. Discussion 
5.1 Empowerment As a Multidimensional Process
5.2 Interlinking Factors for Empowerment
5.3 Proposals for Further Research
6. Con cluding Remarks 
7 . List of References
Women in Tourism: Exploring the Links between Women’s Skills Development, Empowerment and Employment

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