ITS Campus, Opinion – Raden Ajeng Kartini is one of the most phenomenal heroes in Indonesia. During her life, Kartini had never taken up arms to challenge the Dutch. However, her name is equated with the heroes of independence in history books. This is none other than the inspiration and thought that she inherited to Indonesian women. For the sake of remembering her, in 1964, President Soekarno set the third week in April as Kartini Day.
Kartini Day is always associated with women’s emancipation. According to KBBI, emancipation is a process of self-liberation from slavery. Simply put, women’s emancipation means equality between women and men in fulfilling their rights as citizens.
In the past women were deliberately positioned below men in social caste. In Indonesia tradition, it is certainly not much different. During the colonialism, Indonesian women were not allowed to pursue higher education. Even today, the expression of why pursue higher education if you only end up in the kitchen, also often buzzes in society.
Before, Indonesian women were also required to accept partners chosen by their parents. Of course, this violates women’s right to be able to choose their life partner. The worst thing is, many parents used to force their daughter to marry a nobleman just to raise their family status. This was also experienced and became a concern for Kartini.
She began to open to the idea of feminism in Europe that was developing at that time. It was started from her hobby of reading newspapers, magazines, and books given by her pen pal in the Netherlands, Rosa Abendanon. She paid attention to the problems of Indonesian women relating to equality of rights, freedom, autonomy, and equality in the eyes of the law.
Kartini realized that the best step to initiate emancipation for Indonesian women was through education. Therefore she was determined to build the first women’s school. It was finally succeeded to establish next to the Rembang Regency government office at that time. Kartini is aware that a strong educational background can pioneer the achievement of the emancipation of Indonesian women in the future.
As expected, Kartini’s thought began to show results. Today, many Indonesian women lead large companies, become athletes, scientists, and reliable diplomat. The meaning of ‘Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang’ doesn’t linger only on words.
Septian Chandra Susanto
Mahasiswa S-1 Departemen Perencanaan Wilayah dan Kota
Translated by Yuliawati
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