International Womens Day 2018

Rumah KitaB is the Secretariat of Jaringan AKSI which is one of the event organizer. In this case Rumah KitaB organized several members of the network to jointly succeed the event IWD 2018.

This is a cooperation between AKSI Network, Unicef, Dutch embassy and Girls not Bride.



Education, Synergy and Empowerment Keys to Ending Child Marriage in Indonesia

By: Sheany

Jakarta. Putting an end to child marriages remains a challenge for diverse and populous countries like Indonesia, but experts and activists believe that it can be achieved through enhanced efforts in education, synergy across institutions and communities and empowerment for young girls.
Indonesia ranks 7th among countries with the highest absolute numbers of child marriage, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

Around one in nine girls in the country are married before they turn 18-years old. The prevalence of child marriage in the country affects approximately 375 girls every day, according to data published by the Unicef.

“If you ask what must be done, then the best way is to work with formal and non-formal institutions, leaders from both, and in particular with the Muslim [community],” Lies Marcoes-Natsir, executive director of Rumah Kita Bersama Foundation, said on Thursday (08/03) at a press conference in Jakarta.

Established in 2010, Rumah Kita Bersama is a research institute for policy advocacy, working to fight for the rights of marginalized communities.

According to Lies, while the Indonesian government has shown commitment to ending child marriages, the problem is centered in the practice of dualism in Islamic and national law.

“There is a trend of fundamentalism or conservatism [among] government officers, who also use the Islamic jurisprudence for legal decisions,” Lies said.

The issue has received less attention than other emergencies recognized by the state, she added. While the legal age of marriage is 21 in Indonesia, there is an exemption to allow girls as young as 16 to wed with parental consent.

Often, child marriage is perceived as a tradition or a solution to economic hardship, and many girls are married through a traditional marriage, or nikah siri.

According to the chairwoman of Girls Not Brides, Princess Mabel van Oranje, there is a misconception as to the benefits of child marriage, and advocacy campaigns to end the practice must be centered on the benefits of the alternatives.

“If Indonesia doesn’t have child marriage, economic growth will increase by 1.7 percent … This is not just about girls’ rights, or the well-being of individuals. This is about a smart investment for families, for communities, for men and boys – they will benefit,” Mabel said, referring to a study on the impact of child marriage on economic growth conducted by Unicef.

Girls Not Brides is a global partnership comprising 900 civil society organizations across 95 countries and works to put an end to child marriage.

Mabel added that one of the key answers to ending child marriage is through education.

Lies echoed this sentiment during the press conference and emphasized that efforts to educate and raise awareness about the issue must also be directed toward adults and boys as part of a collective effort to prevent child marriage.

Education must also give space for awareness about sexual and reproductive health, despite social norms in the country that views intimate issues such as women’s health as taboo.

While these efforts might prove challenging for Indonesia, Mabel said that the work must continue onward.
“We need to find ways to tackle these difficult issues in a respectful way,” Mabel said.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Unicef, Aksi Network, Girls Not Brides and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Indonesia hosted “Youth Voices Against Child Marriage,” which saw a hundred young Indonesians participate in a discussion on ways to prevent child marriage.

Nadira Irdiana, a committee member of the Aksi Network, said that gender inequality is an issue that affects how young girls see themselves in the public sphere.

It makes the work of empowering young girls important, Nadira said, as it allows girls to believe in their abilities and become independent.

In addition, Nadira argued that children and teenagers must be included in the decision-making processes.
“Give trust to young people, adolescents, to participate in finding the solution,” Nadira said.

Lauren Rumble, deputy representative of Unicef Indonesia, stressed the importance of partnerships among relevant stakeholders, including leaders in government, communities and religious institutions, as well as caregivers, parents and networks, to amplify the voices of girls.

“The perfect solutions are the ones that listen to the voices of girls, demonstrate the alternatives [to child marriage],” Rumble said.


International Women’s Day: Inspiring Activists & Their Call for Equality

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day with a look at seven women’s rights activists and their tireless work to achieve equality for all.

Today, in celebration of International Women’s Day, people are being asked to: “Call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a better working world—a more inclusive, gender equal world.” In honor of this, here’s a look at seven inspiring women and the work they did to create a more equal world.

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem is a writer and advocate for women’s rights—she started Ms. magazine, co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus and attended 1977’s National Women’s Conference. In 1970, she spoke to the Senate about the Equal Rights Amendment, saying, “I have been refused service in public restaurants, ordered out of public gathering places and turned away from apartment rentals. All for the clearly stated, sole reason that I am a woman.”

Today’s society is more equal and inclusive thanks in part to Steinem’s efforts (though despite her support, the ERA fell short of the number of states needed for ratification by its 1982 deadline). Work still has to be done for gender equality, but Steinem has hope for the future—as she noted in 2016, “I have seen profound changes and they help me have faith that they will continue.”

Reverend Addie Wyatt

Addie Wyatt, who worked in a meatpacking plant for years, understood the concerns of working women, and spent the better part of her union career trying to improve their lives. As a leader in the United Packinghouse Workers of America (she was the first African-American woman to become president of a local branch), Wyatt sought contracts that offered equal pay for equal work, and fought against on-the-job sexism and discrimination.

Increased representation and opportunities for women and minorities were another Wyatt initiative. And she pushed for more equitable treatment so women and minorities wouldn’t be the first to lose their jobs when layoffs hit. The impact of her work was recognized by Eleanor Roosevelt, who invited Wyatt to join the President’s Commission on the Status of Women in 1961. Wyatt also became a co-founder of the Coalition of Labor Union Women in 1974.

Betty Friedan

Betty Friedan‘s The Feminine Mystique (1963) told women they weren’t abnormal if they desired more than marriage, homemaking and caring for children—and the popular response to the book showed its author had hit a nerve. Friedan went on to fight for women’s rights by co-founding the National Women’s Political Caucus, the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (which became NARAL Pro-Choice America) and the National Organization for Women. As NOW’s first president, from 1966 to 1970, she organized the Women’s Strike for Equality, which took place on the 50th anniversary of women’s suffrage: August 26, 1970.

Friedan has received justifiable criticism for her focus on the needs of middle- and upper-class white women and her bigotry against homosexuality (she deemed lesbians a “Lavender Menace” to the feminist movement, a sentiment she later repudiated). However, she deserves credit for inspiring millions to demand more opportunity.

Estelle Griswold

The birth control pill was approved as a contraceptive by the FDA in 1960—but in Connecticut, it was illegal, thanks to an 1879 law that outlawed using all forms of contraception. In November 1961, Estelle Griswold, director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, challenged this legislation by opening a birth control clinic in New Haven with Dr. C. Lee Buxton. By fighting for women to be able to control their fertility, Griswold wanted to give them more freedom to determine the course of their lives.

Griswold and Buxton’s convictions were upheld by Connecticut’s Supreme Court—but when lawyer Catherine Roraback appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, a 7-2 decision ended up throwing out Connecticut’s archaic law. Citing a right to privacy, Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) legalized birth control for all married couples. The same legal reasoning was used in the 1972 case that okayed contraceptive use for unmarried couples, and 1973’s Roe v. Wade gave women the right to terminate pregnancies.

Martha Griffiths

Martha Griffiths was an advocate for women throughout her time serving in the House of Representatives (1955 to 1974), but one of her most lasting accomplishments came during the fight for civil rights legislation in 1964. A conservative politician who opposed the proposed laws decided to introduce an amendment outlawing sex discrimination in employment—not because he wanted to support women, but because he felt it could stop the entire legislative process.

Griffiths waited for her colleague to speak, and for her fellow representatives to laugh at the idea of protecting women, then noted that their mirth demonstrated “that women were a second–class sex.” She also argued that without the amendment, women who didn’t fall into a protected category of race, color, religion or national origin would be left with no recourse against job discrimination. Her tactics worked—Title VII of the Civil Rights Act included sex as a protected category. It didn’t end employment discrimination—Griffiths herself would work to strengthen the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission established by the law—but it gave women a stronger foothold from which to demand better treatment in the workplace.

Florynce Kennedy

A Columbia-educated lawyer, Florynce Kennedy followed her own advice of: “Don’t agonize. Organize.” She also truly understood the power of attention-grabbing protests: in 1968, she participated in a picket of the Miss America pageant; five years later, she organized a “pee-in” at Harvard in order to highlight the lack of women’s bathroom facilities. A quick-witted speaker, Kennedy often appeared with Gloria Steinem.

Kennedy helped establish the National Women’s Political Caucus and the Coalition Against Racism and Sexism; in 1971, she founded the Feminist Party. When Shirley Chisholm made her barrier-breaking run to become the Democratic presidential candidate in 1972 (she was the first woman and the first African American to seek a major political party’s presidential nod), many women and male politicians of color backed other candidates. But Kennedy’s Feminist Party supported Chisholm, who won 152 delegates.

Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huerta was a founder, along with Cesar Chávez, of the National Farm Workers Association, which became United Farm Workers. Her accomplishments in this role included improved working conditions and wages, which made life easier for male and female workers alike. She also negotiated for equal wages for men and women, and encouraged women to take on jobs previously reserved for men. In addition, Huerta urged the union and Chávez to welcome women into leadership roles and involve them in decision-making.

Huerta, who’s referred to herself as a “born-again feminist,” has continued to fight for women’s rights as part of her organizing work. She took part in the Feminist Majority Foundation’s “Feminization of Power: 50/50 by the Year 2000” campaign to get more Latinas into public office. And on January 21, 2017, she was one of the millions who participated in a Women’s March.

Featured photo: An International Women’s Day March in 1977. (Photo: Fairfax Media/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)