• Job Placement: Lecturer, Universitas Tadulako, Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia
  • Committee: Y. Rodgers, E. Brooks, R. Balakrishnan, D. Goldstein
  • Dissertation: Rural Home-based Self-Employment: Evidence from Central Sulawesi, Indonesia


Harnida Adda received a B.A. in Economics with a specialization in Human Resource Management from Tadulako University, Indonesia in 1999. She also received an MA in Women’s Studies from Flinders University, Australia in 2004. Her passion for women in managerial positions has inspired her to write an MA thesis entitled "A Question of Style: Gender and Management in Asian Countries," which enabled her to explore the issue of leadership styles of women executives in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia.

She started her PhD in Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers in 2008 with a Fulbright Scholarship and completed the program in 2014. She is now back in her home country of Indonesia getting back to routine as a lecturer at her alma mater, Universitas Tadulako, Palu, Central Sulawesi. Apart from teaching, she also speaks locally on topics related to human resources management. She plans to undertake collaborative research with local governmental and non-governmental institutions centering on the topic of the development and sustainability of women's economic activities through home-based industries as a potential strategy for enhancing women's participation in both domestic and public spaces. She will also revise her dissertation into a book and some articles for publication in national and international journals. Last but not least, she is looking forward to undertaking post-doctorate opportunities.


This study explores how women in Central Sulawesi of Indonesia experience power and value transformations through self-employment. Based on the subjective experience of female fried onion producers and sarong weavers, this study suggests that the integration of women into home-based industries generate benefits beyond economic survival. Self-employment has led women’s work to be recognized as “real work” and it has increased women’s personal capabilities. This change has led self-employed women to position themselves as partners of their husbands, as their voices have become more acknowledged at work and in the home. This study indicates the existence of a new dimension of rural women, as they have become agents of social change by participating in micro self-employment. These women have developed self-awareness of their personal resources and have attempted to create a new role for themselves by challenging and transforming the patriarchal structure of their households. Through their initiative and commitment to developing their income-earning capacities, these women have gained more respect and authority that enable them to participate more outspokenly in their families’ affairs due to the improved power relations between their husbands and themselves. Through conducting in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and participant observations, this study shows that the contributions of rural women through home-based self-employment goes beyond the individual and her family; owners provide job opportunities for other women, and the choice of producing fried onions and weaving sarongs helps to preserve the specialties of the local culture. Rural women’s contribution through self-employment is valued beyond the material entity that these women bring in to their households. They have made the commitment to endure the risks of small-scale home-based micro-businesses as a way to diversify their family’s source of income. They have thereby increased their visibility in their own homes and in society. By embracing their strengths through self-employment, rural women have been able to overcome the power barriers that used to impede their advancement in economic and social lives. By using the cultural influences as one of motivations to engage in ‘non-traditional’ work, these women are continuing to improve their capabilities in the face of persistent challenges.