Exploring the roles of women in local batik sector and trade requires an understanding of the ways in which historically and culturally specific notions of gender work through the family as well as through local social institutions. Actualization of local women as human resource might be to happen in the community because of the family’s awareness to let the women having opportunity to develop self-potential skill according to their aspiration.The situation-condition of family and community environment are relatively conducive for women to work. The fact that, culturally the local women play important role to keep controll over the family’s psychological freshness. Eventhough, they spend their spare time to do batik works, they always have priority over the family’s needs.
The discussion concerning women’s awareness, participation and competence above show that they have took part in the development of economic community. Historically, lots of women who worked as pelantar have played a prominent role in enabling process to develop skilled and productive local human resource through on- the-job training of batik arts. The other prominent roles of women are distinguished between female batik entrepreneur and pelantar.
Being batik entrepreneurs, the central role of women in Pilang firms are to be managers of business on their own. Most of the crucial business decisions on the purchasing of batik materials, the needs of female batik part-time workers, wage matters, determining quantity and batik motifs to be produced. The role of women in making decision is more dominant than men (husbands), particularly in regard with aesthetic subtleties of batik that were key to determining quality and price in a competitive market.
To be different from the role of batik entrepreneurs, pelantar’s main responsibility is looking for batik contract work from many juragan (owner of enterprise) batik in Solo. In the batik contract work, the prominent role of pelantar is to develop a basic batik motif ordered by juragan batik and drawing the outlines of batik design on white cambric, to give direction to their female batik workers about the right way to arrange batik ornaments for filling batik design, supervising and to give a few finishing touches in order to make batik design more attractive. In making decision of quality matters, pelantar mostly conduct same role as the entreprenuers.
There is other traditional role of women that still sustained to date so called pengepul (traditional batik trader). Their significant role is buying and selling other people’s batik product. This significant role is very helpfull to the local small scale entrepreneurs which just started their business.