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Jakarta Post

Feminism alive and well amid growing conservatism

  • The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, September 26 2016   /  07:44 am

Indonesia’s women’s movement has gone through ups and downs since the nation’s first women’s congress was held in 1928.

In its more than 80-year history, it has fought against a deep-rooted patriarchy and political repression under Soeharto, who reduced Kartini, an icon of gender equality in the country, into a mere archetype of a “good women”.

In the reform era, Indonesian feminists thrive thanks to democracy, but the newly acquired political freedom has posed a greater challenge to the women’s movement, as the country’s conservative groups, driven and supported by women, are also seeking to exert their influence on society.

Gadis Arivia, founder of the influential women’s issues journal, Jurnal Perempuan (JP), told The Jakarta Post over the weekend that the country is now seeing the emergence of conservative groups that appear to support women ...