This paper addresses the issue of the gender gap in young people's work preferences and intentions within the context of changing gender relations in urban Indonesia. A survey of senior university students in Jakarta and Makassar in 2004 provided evidence on the interplay between labour market and marriage role preferences among the young educated elite in Indonesia (n = 1761). Along with ongoing demographic transitions and socio-economic change, the study hypothesised that shifting gender norms have created a preference for a more egalitarian, dual-earner marriage among the target population. However, findings indicate that neo-traditional ideals placing men as the breadwinner and women as secondary earners are widely prevalent. Qualitative insights highlight how the universality of marriage and having children entail women to assume a role to satisfy increasing economic needs without relegating their noble role to maintain family harmony.