Thursday, September 10, 2020

Women's History in Indonesia: Between Existence and Contribution

Women March 2020 in Jakarta
(Personal doc.) 
Finding women in Indonesian history studies for high school is like looking for a needle in a haystack. We can only find repetition of Kartini Narratives or the chronology of Indonesian Women's Congress which inspired the commemoration of Hari Ibu. Sometimes, we can also see a number of Indonesian heroines from attached posters on the classroom wall. But when the question of ‘what contribution women made to Indonesian history’ comes up, most students stutter to answer. In other words, recognition of the women's contribution in Indonesian history studies is still lacking. 

However, Indonesia's independence cannot have been reached without women’s participation. In Sarinah, Soekarno, a proclamator and a national founder, clearly stated that women were one of absolute elements in the struggle for independence (2013). Therefore, the existence and contributions of women in Indonesian history cannot be ignored. So, why is it so difficult to find women's existence in Indonesian history studies? To what extent have women contributed in Indonesian history? This paper has the purpose of giving an understanding of women's existence and contribution to the path of creating Indonesia and clarifying gender bias in Indonesia historiography. Moreover, this paper also aims to inspire more students to see and to understand the history fairly and proportionally. Hopefully, the students can share a new understanding when seeing the history with their peer groups.