On April 21st, Indonesia commemorates Kartini Day. The commemoration was set based on Raden Ajeng Kartini's birthday. In her time, she didn’t obtain the same opportunity as men in education. Through her correspondence with several friends in the Netherlands, Kartini expressed her desire to advance Indonesian women. She described the suffering of Javanese women due to customary confinement. They couldn’t be free to go to school; they had to be secluded, and to get married with unknown men. Kartini strongly fought to advance Indonesian women. In her perspective, advancing Indonesian women could be achieved through education. In realizing her ideals, she started establishing a school for girls in her birthplace, Jepara, Central Java. At the school, women were given lessons in sewing, embroidery and cooking. The collection of Kartini's letters to her friends in the Netherlands was recorded by J.H. Abendanon, Minister of Culture, Religion, and Crafts of the Indies at the time with the title 'Door Duisternis Tot Licht ‘or in the famous Indonesian language with' After Darkness Comes the Light '. This Kartini’s letter collection book was published in 1911. Raden Ajeng Kartini became a symbol of the emancipation of Indonesian women.
How are Indonesian women now? Indonesian women have had equal opportunities with men. In almost all sectors, Indonesian women play a leading role, even becoming a president such as Megawati as the 5th president. Megawati recorded history as one of the women who managed to become head of state. Megawati served as the fifth President of Indonesia from 23 July 2001 to 20 October 2004. Currently, eight Indonesian women are in the President Cabinet of Joko Widodo. Indonesian women who have played a leading role are Minister of Finance, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Coordinating Minister of Human Development and Culture, Puan Maharani, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, Minister of Marine and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti, Minister of Health, Nila Moeloek, Minister of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection, Yohanna Yambesi, Minister of Environment and Forestry, Siti Nurbaya and Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, Rini Soemarno.
Even though Indonesian women have managed to gain equal opportunities with men in various fields, the fighting spirit of Indonesian women must continue to be stirred up. As President Joko Widodo called for, Indonesian women continue to foster a fighting spirit to build families, communities, nations, and advance the next generation.
In accordance with her nature as a mother, currently Indonesian women have a more difficult task, considering that Indonesia will obtain a demographic bonus for the period 2020-2035, which will reach its peak in 2030. Indonesian women must prepare great humans who will advance Indonesia. To prepare a potential, healthy, intelligent and moral generation, Indonesian women must be healthy to give birth to a healthy generation; one of them is free from stunting. By paying attention to personal health and children born and the adequacy of nutrition for the growth of their children, Indonesian women will bring Indonesia out of the predicate number four with the highest stunting rate in the world. About 9 million or 37 percent of Indonesian babies experience stunting. Indonesian women's awareness to pay attention to children and their families can improve the Human Resources Index.