ØBy the year1980s enter a “new” perspective to liberating women. Indonesia’s women students and activist learn about liberal feminist ideology mostly from US and UK.

ØState of Indonesia forced by (US) to have women’s empowerment minister. In 1978-1983, there was a first Young State Minister of Women: Lasijah Soetanto.

ØWomen students engage with ‘male stream’ left organization (mostly discussion groups). Women who joined male organization, later on formed a new women organization with feminist as their main perspectives to criticized society and state. One of these was Kalyanamitra. In order to be saved as organization from scrutinized New Order regime, Kalyanamitra chose their operation as women’s information centers.

ØOther women organization formed follow with women issue and use analytical and build organization with feminist ideology.

ØMost of new women’s organization tried to build their organization by self funded and only accepted from small donation (philanthropy) and a bit from outside foreign resources.

ØWomen’s organization were introduced analysis Women in Development

Ø1990s enter ‘so called funding agency” to funded women’s organizations. Those funding agencies from ‘Western’ nations.

ØBy mid 1990s women’s organizations raised their voices and media give them more attention. And word of “Gender” almost became mainstream word. In 1992 women’s activists formed Solidaritas Perempuan, organization focused women’s migrant worker work and poor women, in 1994 LBH APIK (Women Legal Aid Asociation) was formed. And Jurnal Perempuan, a first Indonesia feminist journal that sold to public is formed by lectures of University of Indonesia started published in 1996.

ØEarly 1998 varied women from different organizations worked together hand in hand (held secret meeting and have secret code) to opposed Soeharto’s regime and concerned about high prices foods and milks. Their decision was to have demonstration against Soeharto, it was February 21, 1998. Small number women, approx 20 (who dared!) held a demonstration, these women called them-selves Suara Ibu Peduli. In order not too sound politics. Three women arrested by the police.During their trial, many well-known activists (men/women) came to the court to support them. And there was media frenzy. (see Quite Room in the Movement)

ØMost the women organizations claimed to be with feminist ideology, and tried to build organization with non-hierarchical organization. Somehow until now, there was not yet consensus and acclaimed commitment about what was/is Indonesia Feminist. There was one writer/researcher characterized that Indonesia feminism are: women with religion, not against marriage, and work to together with male counterpart.

My views with Indonesia feminism are: marriage is one of option in life, sexual in the closet (do not share discourse about sexuality openly), claimed as socialist feminism but do not reject middle class-bourgeois privilege, religious person is important and have became ally, practiced liberal lifestyle (consumed) and ignore capitalism of which covered, do not interest with feminist militancy in discourse or actions. @Umi Lasminah


Long before Indonesia gain her Independence Day from the Netherlands in 1945, women already enter the movement hand in hand with their male counterpart to struggle for Independence nation. When the youth and youth organization started in Hindia Belanda/Dutch Indies such as Jong Java, there was a wing for female students Puteri Indonesia.  We might called this earlier young women to enter politics of organization as the earlier feminism. Most of them were inspired by Kartini’s point of view of independent and equality between male and female.

Eearlier Indonesia feminism (as word feminism is word invented from Western/US/Europe), the earlier women movement inspired by Kartini who have knowledge about women emancipation from reading books, seeing her her neighborhood, and from her penpals in the Netherlands.  One of prominent feminist was Soejatin who was one of the leader in Organizing Committee of first Woman Congress in  22 Desesmbe 1928. In her autobiography she mention Kartini has inspired her, and she was continued to wrote about women’s movement with feminist point of view later on in 1950s.

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