Feminism is the belief that men and women should be treated equally, with equal rights, whether socially, economically, or politically. The women of this world have as much capability as men do—in fact, some are even braver and bolder. Here, we take a look at some of Indonesia’s society figures who are very inspiring feminists and have voiced their opinions on this issue and, whether big or small, have definitely made a difference.

Gadis Arivia


Photo: Photo Courtesy of Gadis Arivia

 Gadis Arivia, proudly one of Indonesia’s most powerful feminists, has definitely made a difference. Gadis has come a long way and is currently educating students in feminism and philosophy at the University of Indonesia. From launching Indonesia’s first feminist journal in 1996 to being arrested by Suharto in 1998, Gadis has come a long way. She believes in empowering women from every race, gender preference, and society. Gadis launched Indonesia’s first feminist journal, Jurnal Perempuan, which is still going strong and which is published every three months. The journal talks about ongoing issues from gender analysis, the LGBT community, and human trafficking to feminist methodology and much more

Djenar Maesa Ayu

A well-established novelist, Djenar Maesa Ayu is one of Indonesia’s brightest. Nicknamed Nay, she is brave about what she writes and has every inch of confidence in it. Nay has written several books and short stories that have been nominated for awards and won prizes. Her short stories talk about the gender stereotypes the world is facing, the unending violence we hear about on the news, and other social issues. She writes this in an analysis of feminist literary criticism. Nay invested her time and effort into a collection of short stories to make people aware of the forms of gender injustice that affect women.

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Photo: Photo Courtesy of Ayu Utami

Ayu Utami is an Indonesian writer who is labelled a sastra wangi. This is a label given to Indonesian women who take on controversial issues such as, feminism, politics, and more. Ayu has written numerous remarkable pieces, but one novel that she was highly recognised for is Saman, which talks about the issue of Indonesian feminists. The novel is based on events going forwards and backwards from the 1960s to the 1990s. Ayu puts her heart and soul into discussing issues that nobody else would dare to discuss. Ayu talks about freedom for women: just the feminist we need.

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Photo: Photo Courtesy of Julia Suryakusuma

Once called “Indonesia’s most provocative columnist”, Julia sure is one of Indonesia’s bravest feminists. She speaks about social issues and political issues so openly, so bravely, and so confidently. Indonesia went through a major economical crisis in 1998 and Julia happened to be among the group of women activists who started Suara Ibu Peduli, which supports women, encouraging them to speak out. Suara Ibu Peduli was among the first anti-government protesters during Suharto’s regime, when women were expected to becomes wives and mothers, and were only limited to that and nothing else. Julia and several other women spoke up and protested against this policy.

Hannah Al Rashid

Campaigning feminism as a host all over Indonesia, actress Hannah Al Rasyid has made a big difference in empowering women. Hannah claims that the feminist in her has lasted since she was a little girl. When Hannah faced a situation at school in which she was told she wasn’t eligible to play in the football team as she was a girl, she spoke up and voiced her opinion. Hannah believes that this ongoing issue cannot be overcomed by women alone, but also with the help of men supporting women. The feminism in Hannah is strong and is built to last. She was seen supporting this year’s Jakarta Women March as well.

Elizabeth Rahajeng

As one of Indonesia’s fashion and lifestyle influencers, Elizabeth is known to thoroughly support feminism. Elizabeth is in complete favour of feminism and gender equality and plays a role in supporting many events related to these social issues. Elizabeth took the initiative to take part in the Women’s March that took place in Yogyakarta this year. She also has an upcoming book called Becoming Unstoppable, with one chapter dedicated to true feminism and how we have the freedom to speak, choose, and think.

  Putri Kus Wisnu Wardani

Our July 2018 cover model, Putri Kus Wisnu Wardani, who is the CEO of PT Mustika Ratu, has played a lead role in developing feminism in Indonesia. Putri was a part of the election of regional leaders in unison all over Indonesia. She used this platform to help women raise their voices—as she says, one voice can make a difference and every voice matters for the benefit of Indonesia’s women.

Tara Basro

This actress didn’t acheive fame easily: it was all unflagging hardship for Tara Basro, mostly relating to her dark, exotic complexion. On the verge of giving up, Tara then decided to pursue her dreams harder and eventually received an award for Leading Actress. Not only that, Tara is all about female empowerment and self-love, which she likes to discuss openly through her Instagram account.

 See also: July Cover: Dr Hj. BRA Mooryati Soedibyo, Putri Kus Wisnu Wardani & Puteri Indonesia 2018 Winners On Feminism And Accomplishments

Tags: Feminism, Social, Women Empowerement, Feminist