A large mass consisting of friends and allies of women organized a women’s march this Saturday (3/4) morning in front of the Indonesian Presidential Palace. One of clubPAW authors participated in the march to witness LOVE in what was really the start of something historic in Jakarta. While capturing moments from the ground, clubPAW also gathered personal stories from some people who marched as well.
We at clubPAW believe that the women’s march movement that has been embraced by many major and small cities globally signifies something larger: a hope. A hope that there are many out there who are still persevering in the fight for equality and love. Skeptical and ignorant people are still out there and the only way to turn them to our side is by engaging in healthy dialogues and exchanging ideas. And the march has at least provided an avenue for many to express and voice out what they think should be addressed and discussed more in the largest Southeast Asian nation. People who dismiss the march as irrelevant and unimportant are not our enemies, but instead they need to be embraced through dialogues. They may simply be uninformed or have lived their lives being privileged so that they are oblivious to the suffering of many. One thing to remember is that to be a humanitarian means to do good will but expecting nothing in return. At least that’s what Queen Rihanna said in her Harvard speech recently for being awarded the Harvard Humanitarian award. Blessed be her restless caring soul.
People think that feminism and gender equality are things that are ‘too American’ and ‘too western’, therefore we in Indonesia or in Asia generally should not copy what the Western communities are doing. But that is where they get it wrong. Wherever the movement was initiated, the problems being voiced all around the world resonate globally everywhere. Black people being subjected to police brutality in the USA, refugees being subjected to inhumane treatment in some European countries, Muslims being denied their basic rights in Myanmar, the LGBTIQ+ people being persecuted in Indonesia. The problems have different names, manifest in different forms, but deep within it all roots from one thing: oppression against those who are constantly discriminated and marginalized.
Today, women are still being told that they shouldn’t be too intelligent; they shouldn’t aspire to attain too many academic degrees because their role is to eventually stay home and be a baby machine. Women are still being told that some jobs aren’t just for them even if they are perfectly capable. Women can’t be carpenters because it requires strength and women are too weak. Women can’t be leaders because it requires decision making and women are too emotional. Women can’t be engineers because engineering jobs are somehow naturally an exclusive occupation for men. Women can’t dress however they want to―unlike men―because their dress determines how men treat them.
And if some, or even all, of these problems that advocates and supporters of equality and fairness are trying to address and bring into the table are in fact non-existent for you, then congratulations! You must have been born to an accepting family and loving community. But, no. Your privileges do not cancel everyone else’s sufferings. Real injustice occurs on a daily basis; in our homes, in school grounds, in work places, in the streets, on the internet, everywhere. Just because you are not experiencing said injustice does not give you the rights to say that everyone else is delusional for saying they are experiencing things that are too gruesome to be real in your privileged world.
You don’t have to be a woman to be a supporter of the march. You can be a man, you can be a transman or a transwoman, you can be someone who conforms to none of the binary assignments, you can be anything. You don’t have to have a mother or a wife or a sister or a daughter or any woman in your life that is affected by the various problems being addressed. You don’t have to have experienced all the injustice that has been done. You don’t have to be an ideological feminist and post it on your Facebook. All you need to have is compassion; is empathy; is kindness; is love.
In this century, humans have come so far with science and technology. We even discovered countless of Next Earth planets for potential new habitats. But somehow equality and fundamental human rights for some people are still stuck somewhere so far behind for reasons unknown to some.
You can see some signs we spotted from the march on the pictures below and read their thoughts too on why they marched and what they stand for. Just like them, clubPAW stands for women’s rights too. We stand not just for women’s rights, but for everyone’s equal rights: men, women, trans, non-conforming, whatever you are being called or call yourself.
This fight for LOVE and PEACE will be long and hard and tiring and restless and exhausting, but let your voice be heard. Let your voice be heard loud and clear.
“My faith does not make me incompatible with feminism and equality. Women, including muslim women, need to be supported. I studied in the UK and living in a foreign land as part of the minority for the first time made me realize how freedom and equality should not be taken for granted. We fight for it.” ― Dyah Inastra (@dindainastra)
“We come from the US and we wanted to join to see the women’s march in Indonesia and to stand for women’s rights. My children actually were very eager to come om their own.” ― Suzy Oge and her children (@suzyoge)
“I stand for gender equality because everyone deserves the same rights―not just men. Women and everyone else too.” ― Asteria Zita (@asteria_zita)
“Today is my birthday and I wanted to do something different. I am very inspired by this movement. I think it is very important that women now have the avenue to use their voice to assert their rights. What is even more important is that I see a lot of men also here today.” ― Maritta Rastuti (@marittacr)
“I stand for a lot of things. I am part of a group that combats sexual violence but here today we have 8 different demands and my focus is definitely on fighting sexual violence and promoting tolerance and to stand with the LGBT community.” ― Priyanka Larasathi (@panacotta_y)
“I’m here to represent the LGBT community who are constantly subjected to endless violence in Indonesia and everywhere in the world―violence in many ways and interpretations. I am a man and I stand for women’s rights, gay people’s rights, straight people’s rights, human rights, everyone’s rights.” ― Noval Auliady (@aul.3gp)
“We are journalists and we started @magdaleneid as a platform for women, for people, to talk freely. Funny thing about today is that a friend who works in the advertising industry said the other day that the women’s march has lost momentum and it’s a western thing. I told her that at least these people are doing something. The least we can do as women is to give support. We have to voice it out. When bad things happen, the responsibilities aren’t just on the people who did the bad things but also on those who stay silent. We need to speak up. We genuinely appreciate and support the march.” ― Devi Asmarani (@dasmaran) & Hera Diani (@heradiani)
“I come to the march dressed as Darth Vader because he’s unique. He was a good man at first and then he turned bad and then good again. I think the same thing applies to all of us. We might be in a world where people are patriarchal, sexist, racist today, but we can change them. They can be good. I am also with my mother today because she’s my inspiration. She took care of me on her own because she got divorced. Women like my mom is the living testament of feminism. Women are incredible. I was worried once that having me prevented her from achieving her dreams so I asked her why she didn’t abort me after divorce, but she said everything she’s achieved would be nothing without me. Now she has a Master’s degree and a Ph.D from schools in Finland and Germany. She’s wonderful. Not long ago she got divorced again, with my little sister being only 5 years old. But this time around, she’s got me so she won’t have to do it alone. My mom is everything I need in life.” ― Margianta (@margianta) a.k.a. The Awaken Darth Vader
“Women are not weak. Women are strong. We are not toys. How we dress is our decision. Our bodies our authorities.” ― Syifa Nur Annisa (@syifaanurannisaa), Vanisha Novianti (@vanishanovianti), and Nina (@_ninaanh)
“I’m here today because I have experince of being harrassed sexually. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through. It can lead to terrible things. I had mental health problems and it was very terrible. Women are still objectified and I want that to stop. I want harrasment to stop everywhere. That’s why I founded @PadGHRS, a place or everyone to learn and understand gender and human rights and feel safe.” ― Penti Aprianti (@pentiapril)