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Jakarta Post

Papuan women told to avoid old-fashioned traditions

  • Nethy Dharma Somba

    The Jakarta Post

Jayapura, Papua   /   Fri, April 21, 2017   /   09:31 pm
Papuan women told to avoid old-fashioned traditions Empowerment: Papuan women attend a discussion and training session provided by the Papuan Working Group to develop the economy of their families. (JP/Nethy Dharma Somba)

The struggle of Kartini, a young female hero who strove to release Indonesian women from old-fashioned traditions, must be followed by women in Papua, where local communities still adopt a strict patriarchal system.

“Papuan women should not let themselves be shackled by old-fashioned traditions. It doesn’t mean we should no longer adhere to our customs and traditions. But what should happen is that our traditions must become our motor to keep moving forward,” said Jacoba Lokbere, a Papua Legislative Council member from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), in Jayapura on Friday.

The lawmaker further said many Papuan women were still shackled by old-fashioned traditions, such as marriage at a young age, because there was a common belief there that once a woman got her period, she was ready to get married. Youth marriage was common especially in remote villages with poor access to information and communications.

“It is still widely considered that women’s sole responsibilities are to give birth to their children, tackle housework and work in plantations. Only men are allowed to work outside the home,” said Jacoba, in her statement on the commemoration of Kartini Day on April 21.

The female Papuan politician said she could release herself from the adoption of old-fashioned traditions because of her strong will to see more Indonesian women having a successful career in various fields, but without forgetting the support of their families.

“Families play a great role in releasing a woman from the adoption of old-fashioned traditions,” she said. (ebf)

Equal rights: US Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph Donovan (right, wearing brown batik shirt) attends the International Women's Day celebration at Hamadi Beach in Jayapura, Papua, recently. (JP/Nethy Dharma Somba)