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Writer: Nadira Annisa Photographer: Adian Tanata Illustrator: Fadil Rangga

Last week on April 21st, Indonesians celebrated a day of women empowerment and most importantly to remember the women, that paved the way for women all over Indonesia to gain equal rights in education. She was, Raden Adjeng Kartini or more well known as Kartini, an Indonesian national heroine.

Who is Kartini? Kartini was born in 1879 to a Javanese aristocratic family. Although Kartini had the privilege to learn the Dutch language, she lived in a time where other young girls weren’t able to have an education. She was considered a progressive woman during her time, and through her knowledge, she continued to learn on her own from Dutch books, which led her interest to European feminist theories and created her strong desire to improve the conditions of indigenous Indonesian women. Kartini not only focused on the emancipation of women, but she also was concerned in other areas such as the struggle for women to obtain freedom, autonomy, and legal equality. She believed that women should also receive education, not to challenge men, but to stand equally with men.

Kartini Today Before Kartini died at the tender age of 25, she wrote many letters to her friends, touching on her views of the social conditions and sufferings. Later on, after her passing, her letters were made into a book called “Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang” or “Door Duisternis tot Licht in dutch”, which literally translatesOut of Dark Comes Light”. The book and her strong will to elevate women’s status have inspired people to create women’s schools in many parts of Indonesia.

She is recognized today, as a prominent figure in Indonesian history that fought for the freedom and rights of young girls all over Indonesia. Until today, her birth date or also known as Kartini Day is a celebrated day to remember her struggle for women emancipation and also to remind us of the modern Kartini’s out there that are still fighting for their rights. 

Women Empowerment Around The world Globally women have fewer opportunities in economic participation and even less access to basic and higher education, greater health and safety risks, and less political representation. According to the peace corps, “Women's empowerment is a critical aspect of achieving gender equality. It includes increasing a woman's sense of self-worth, her decision-making power, her access to opportunities and resources, her power and control over her own life inside and outside the home, and her ability to effect change”. A lot of women and girls around the world continue to suffer discrimination and violence.

Despite all that, currently the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals has made one of their goals as “Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment,” which includes equal access to primary education between girls and boys.

The UN announced that there is reducing gender gap in urban primary school enrolment and that every additional year of primary school increases girls' eventual wages by 10-20 percent. It also encourages them to marry later and have fewer children and leaves them less vulnerable to violence. To this date, women around the world, like Malala Yousafzai and other prominent figure are still fighting for their rights for education through social movements, rallies, literatures and many more!

So, what’s happening May 2nd? The APU Indonesian Student Organization will be holding an event called Kartini: Empowerment in Education. Let’s go!  KARTINI: 教育におけるエンパワーメント、行こうぜ!We hope to spread awareness about women empowerment toward the international community inspired by Indonesia’s heroine, Kartini. Through this event, we would like to invite APU’s multicultural society to share their messages about women empowerment from their own respective countries while together we celebrate the spirit of women empowerment movement. We’ll have all sort of activities in our booth such as quizzes, poster exhibition and many more. So, don't forget to come to our booth in Cafeteria on May 2nd to May 7th!

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