In Search of Meaning
very april, we pay tribute to our national heroine, Kartini, and we commemorate her birthdate, April 21, as the Kartini Day, whose significance has constantly evolved over time. During the golden age of Sukarno, the date served as a reminder that women should take part in the state’s course of development. But now, it symbolises many things—trust, honour, strength, wisdom, power, freedom, and so on. If we were to draw a common theme from the cornucopia of meanings the date had engendered, that would be the idea of women’s empowerment being galvanised throughout the time.
Despite progress, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be complacent about gender equality, the achievement of which, I believe, is still a long way to go. We may live a sufficiently satisfying life, some even a profuse one. However, the condition of our women out there is still far from being equal. Take the issue of Indonesian migrant workers—where women constitute 75% of its documented workforce abroad—for instance. Being one of the largest exporters of domestic labour to countries in the Middle East and metropolises such as Hong Kong, Indonesia must revise its current labour laws that see migrant women largely through economic lenses rather than those of human rights. With cases revolving around violence against women being in plenty, it’s about time that we redirect our search of meaning, a meaning that sheds light on women and emancipation.
To acknowledge the issues above exist is the first step for us to spread the awareness. And more importantly, to acknowledge the accomplishments of today’s women helps us redefine our progress to fill our sails and propel us forward. All in all, to celebrate Kartini Day, we fill this issue with women who have overcome their struggles to see their own strengths. From female entrepreneur Erika Santoso, who strikes a pose for our cover this month, to Albens cider’s founder, Dina Rimandra Handayani—all have found their “real gold” that often goes un-mined. Read their inspiring stories inside, and Happy Kartini Day, all.