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Jakarta Post

Spreading Kartini's light

Window to the world: Kartini, played by Dian Sastrowardoyo, is allowed to read the books in Dutch sent by her brother during her marriage confinement.(Legacy Pictures/File)
Editorial board
Jakarta   ●   Wed, April 21 2021

Today, as we have for 57 years since Kartini Day was declared in 1964, Indonesia celebrates the birth of Raden Adjeng Kartini, a 19th century writer and thinker who inspired women’s empowerment and gender equality in the country.

Kartini was born on April 21, 1879 to a Javanese noble family in Jepara, Central Java, which gave her access to education, unlike most of her peers. Through her writings, she challenged the patriarchy and traditional values of the time that deprived women of their right to define their own future.

She did not marry at a young age as other women of her day, but lived in confinement for years for refusing to wed a man who she thought would not treat her as an equal and would force her into a polygynous marriage, a life she had grown to despise after watching her mother's fate as a mistress.

At 24, Kartini final...

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