Mittwoch, 05. Juni 2019, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

Wednesday Seminar

Kartini and Beyond: Unity and Diversity in the Indonesian Women's Movement

Ratna Saptari

Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie, HS-C
Universitätsstraße 7, NIG, 4. Stock, 1010 Wien


One hundred and forty years after her birth, Kartini remains a significant symbol of the Indonesian Women's Movement. In her correspondence with Dutch feminists, she expressed her highly intellectual and progressive ideas regarding feudalism and gender equality but was herself trapped within these structures. Her life trajectory reflected the paradox of an individual struggle situated within a feudalist system. But it was mainly her ideas reflected in her letters, that has become the source of inspiration for the Indonesian women's movement in the present day.

This talk will focus on the current Indonesian women's movement within the context of globalization and capitalism and concurrently, with the sharpening of ethnic and religious boundaries.

It is within this paradox, as also faced by Kartini, that a number of cases representing diverse women’s struggles at different political scales will be highlighted. With the introduction of UN and ILO Conventions that have formulated various forms of protection for women and children there remains a disjuncture between these conventions and their practices at national and local levels. An examination of the Indonesian Laws on Child Marriage, Sexual Violence and Anti-Pornography will be placed within the current religious and cultural/ethnic debates among the political actors in Indonesia. Additionally, the feminist struggles regarding land and labour will also be situated within the political interests of the indigenous people’s movement and trade unions. These incongruities remain a challenge for the women's movement and underlines the diverse goals and strategies needed. But in the face of this, the realization that without the involvement of women in fighting for their recognition and rights, social justice will not be achieved, has also become widespread among Indonesian activists, nationally and internationally.

Ratna Saptari obtained BA and MA in anthropology at the University of Indonesia and Leiden University and her PhD from the University of Amsterdam. She is currently teaching at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, Leiden University and her specializations are on gender and labour relations, migration, social movements, collective memory and social history. She has written mainly on cigarette factory workers, domestic workers and politics of memory. Her concern with human rights issues in Indonesia started with her involvement with the labour movement in the mid-1980s.

She was co-founder of the feminist organization, Kalyanamitra, based in Jakarta, and is also secretary general of the Indonesian Migrant Workers’ Union (IMWU) based in The Hague. She was part of the IPT 65 research team based in the Netherlands and helped to prepare the report for the 1965 International People’s Tribunal.

Zur Webseite der Veranstaltung


Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie


Tabitha Schnoeller
Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie