What started out as an idea among several feminists on social media turned into a reality last Saturday (March 4), when nearly 2,000 women, men and transgender people, took to the street to participate in 2017 Jakarta Women’s March.
The event was part of a celebration of the International Women’s Day on March 8, and inspired by the International Women’s March on January 21, a day after the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
“Many women issues here are similar to the global issues affecting women, such as violence against women, sexism, misogyny, sexual harassment on the street and on the media,” Olin Monteiro, the head of the organizing committee of the Women’s March Jakarta 2017, told Magdalene.
Bearing posters that comment on various issues from body autonomy, sexual violence, equality for LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer) community, to environmental protection and agrarian rights, participants marched peacefully on Jl. Thamrin, Central Jakarta, towards the Presidential Palace. In front of the palace, the protesters gathered to hear speeches and watched performances.
The speakers included feminist Muslim scholar Musdah Mulia, Mariana Amirudin of the National Commission on Violence against Women, transgender activists Merlyn Sofyan and Caesar Abrisam, Aryani Arshad of the Indonesian Association of Women with Disabilities, Yaya Nurhaeti of the Indonesian Forum for Environment (Walhi), Dian Kartikasari of Indonesian Women Coalition (KPI), Rukka Sombolinggi of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), Monica Tanuhandaru of Partnership for Governance Reform, and Puspa Dewi of Women Solidarity (Solidaritas Perempuan).
There were music and dance performances as well as poetry reading. Some celebrities were seen joining the event including film director Joko Anwar, whose photos are on display here; singer/songwriter and gender activist Kartika Jahja; actors Hannah Al-Rashid, Nova Eliza and Nino Fernandez; and singer Melanie Subono.
Olin expressed her delight with the turnout of the event: “What makes me even prouder is that some 30 and 40 young people who volunteered to prepare for the event in the last two months are not activists. They were willing, however, to sit and learn from us, activists. There is a movement among young people who want to learn about feminism and want to contribute in real activism, not just on social media.”
The wide variety of speakers and participants shows the march’s inclusive nature and its commitment to intersecting social issues, championing not just women's issues, but also those of LGBTIQ, environment, labor, and the rights of differently-abled people.
The official eight demands are: the protection tolerance and diversity in Indonesia, legal infrastructure for gender justice, health care for women, an end to violence against women, the protection of the environment and women’s workers; public policies that are pro-women and other marginal groups, including differently abled women; more representation of women in politics and government; an end to discrimination and violence against the LGBTIQ; and attention to global issues with impact on women and the building solidarity with other women across the globe.
“We are currently writing a letter of demands to follow up on these,” said Olin. “There will also be an exhibition of posters from the march.”
For those who want to join the movement, email the organizers at [email protected]
If you missed the march, enjoy the pictures below taken by noted filmmaker Joko Anwar.
*Read Devi’s piece about what Indonesian women can learn from Trump’s election and follow @Dasmaran on Twitter.