Women in Indonesia have come a long way since Raden Ajeng Kartini first fought for their emancipation. And as the nation celebrates the birth of this remarkable woman, it is a good time to take stock of just how far we have come. Just over 100 years ago, Indonesian women were mostly limited to the confines of their homes. Today, Indonesian women occupy influential positions in a thriving society. We only have to look back into our recent history to see how far our nation has progressed in this respect. The country had a woman president when Megawati Sukarnoputri led the nation from the State Palace; female ministers sit in the cabinet alongside their male colleagues; countless are the number of female chief executive officers, judges and leading entrepreneurs. They have redefined the role of Indonesian women in society, and have also improved and touched the lives of many and served as an inspiration for future generations of women in the country. It is these modern-day Kartinis who are the role models who will inspire Indonesian women in the future. In the male-dominated world of the Indonesian judiciary, Judge Albertina Ho, for example, stands out not just for being a woman leading a panel of predominantly male counterparts, but also for showing no compromise toward those stealing taxpayer money and breaking the law. And there is Mari Elka Pangestu, the former trade minister who took on a challenging task when she was asked by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to build the country’s tourism and creative industries. A trained economist, Mari has emerged as one of the foremost thinkers in the country. She is also a role model for thousands of women who aspire to make a positive contribution to nation-building. But even as we celebrate Kartini Day and the progress we have made, we must not lose sight of the road that still lies ahead. Women still face enormous hurdles in winning equal treatment. They do not have the same access to credit that men enjoy, for example. We must therefore continue to push for true gender equality and fulfill Kartini’s dream. taken from The Jakarta Globe

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