Women of Indonesia, the Pluralistic Community in the World
Women of Indonesia, is represented its nation’s character and its slogan and symbol, Bhineka Tunggal Ika (Different but One or Diversity in Unity). The Indonesia women have different cultures and characters somehow it is very easy for them to engage with each other.
Women Indonesia like many other women in the world lives mostly their live in struggle with patriarchy. Their struggle are done in sphere of consciousness or not deliberately. Most of them not deliberately fight for patriarchy. In time of digitally advance community throughout the world, women in Indonesia also have use technology in their life while still maintain their culture and tradition, especially in marital life, upbringing, and day to day caregiver.
Indonesia has more than 250 languages from more tens major ethnics, and hundreds of sub ethnics. Their cultures are varied. For most women who live in rural area, their domestic duty has made women to be the preservers of tradition. Their management skills have been the greatest source of any invention in domestic later public goods for instance traditional medicine (herbal), cook recipes, and other daily need for human to survive.
Most of Indonesian women have practiced a tradition in their life. Since the very beginning of the birth, as a girl, the tradition has put into girl child, most of them to distinguished that they are girl, and different with boys.
To be continue @Umi Lasminah
I want to testify of what you wrote on the article above. I’m French, and my girlfriend is an Indonesian woman. We’ve met two years ago now, and i learnt a lot about her culture (javanase, muslim), and I have met her family several times. The big difference between France and Indonesia is this patriarchy that u talked about, always. For example, my girlfriend has to help her mother when she is not at home, doing what the father wants. My friend is not allowed to drive motorbike alone, when her brother (two years younger than her drives already a big motorbike), and her mother must bring her to work or when she is invited to friends. She told me once, with tears, that she felt ashamed to be treated so. And i see it, helpless. Life is a struggle for her, that’s her identity.
Her mother is a housewife and is working hard everyday to make the house perfect for the husband. She uses her free time to pray, go to mosque with neighbors. But since they got Internet at home, she likes chatting on the Internet with other pple, even me.
Women in France have another complete identity. Of course they always have to fight against patriarchy, but on a different way, and they are helped by more than 30 years of social struggle of the feminist movement (born in the 1920s and brokethrough in 1967-1968) which led to some of political victories.
And also we haven’t this difference between boys and grls that Indonesian people make so easily thinking this difference was mae by nature (feminin and masculin).
But i’m not sure France has leasons to give to Indonesia. There has never been a woman at the head of the State (on the contrary to Indonesia). And patriarchy still remains a reality here. In my university, 60% of the students are women, harly a quarter of the teachers are women (when in high school they are a majority). There is an amazing glass ceiling for women who earn fewer than their masculin counterparts in most of companies. My flatemate told me once that his father (at the head of an important team) doesnt want to hire his secretary because he fears that she might get pregnant if she gets a stable position in the company.
Although there is still much patriarchal being practiced in Indonesian by differents ethnics, including Java, the layer levels the implantation different many parts of Indonesia. There are region where patriarchy practices is strong, but nowadays is became less and less practiced, and mostly the practiced is more liberation. A case for you girlfriend is possible because of the situation in her enviroment or her family, and maybe they are influenced by news crimes or delinquent that are frequently broadcast in television, most are bigger in compare with the realities. And nowadays it getting better, more women have its freedom. And maybe your case is for a woman from family of Java aristocracy or muslim leader family. Indonesia had ratified UN-CEDAW (Convention of Elimination Against all forms of Discrimination against women) by Indonesia Law No.7/1984. But in term of the implementation of the Law itself is still need to be improve by the government and other states apparatus.
I dont know much about Indonesian culture, but i can say my girlfriend comes from a muslim middle class in Surabaya, as she was offered to go to university from her parents. But i also come from a French middle class family and i can see the difference between our two cultures. In France, i can say there are several myths that women have in mind, like the Mai-68 movement which basically led to a sexual liberation, this came from left movements, esp the French communist party which was strong at this moment, facing patriarchy that was basically embodied by the church, moralists. Then in the 1970s the women liberation gained ground because it was spread by dominant political movements, such as right-wing liberal parties.
One question : what is the position of the various religious muslim movements concerning the women liberation in Indonesia, in a country of most people are muslims and in which the religion plays a big role in the polical landscape ?
I dont know if you are aware of the news in Europe, but it’s getting tougher and tougher for muslims. First in Switzerland, where a law was passed to forbid any construction of minaret. Now in France politicians are triggering a big controverse about muslim wearing all form all veils (hijab, burka, nikab). These veils are seen as a hindrance for the integration of immigrant women. Also most people see this veil (especially Burka) as something imposed by men upon women, so it can affect women rights.
Since i’ve been to Indonesia, i have a different point of view about this controversial point. My view is that muslim women are not really imposed to wear this, they are just respecting the traditions they got. As a consequence some muslim women decide to wear it by themself, even it their mother didnt wear nor force their daughter to wear it. Veils are actually a symbol of identification, meaning the muslim women are free to decide to wear what they want. Maybe that’s the right meaning of being free. Some French feminists think muslim women are forced to wear it, and they ask for a law to forbid to wear veil in public places, meaning they are going to be free if they take this off. I think these feminists are loosing the sense of the woman liberation : being free to chose, not force women to be free. Does such a controversy has already raised in Indonesia ?
Most of Indonesian agree to give women the same opportunity with men (liberation), but we have our heroine figure Kartini, that even we are can be what we want to be, we still have respect to our culture, and do not turn into westerner. As for hijab, veil, the population of women wearing veil grows significantly after 1998. It was because of the politics circimstances to allow women to do so. And most of the wearing by choice as part of ideological (as moeslem) many of them wear as part of social acceptanced.
And for feminists here, to wear and not to wear never become a big issues, because it will hurt the women’s movement. And somehow many women who wear veil claimed themselves feminist. As for me, i opposed to massivication of wearing veil, due to it will erase the traditional cloths that we have. And Indonesia is no Malaysia, Malaysia do not have Pancasila, a symbol of cultural and pluralism.