Ladies, we live in challenging times. But amid the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, we want to bring attention to a positive and important cause: Women's History Month. For the past 30 days, activists around the world have been working hard to raise awareness about women’s rights and achievements. Most celebrations (and protests) have centred around International Women’s Day, on March 8. In Bali, however, some of the year's biggest feminist events will take place in April. Want to know more? Below, we’ve compiled a simple guide to celebrating women's history on the island.
Support the Women’s March in Bali
Women’s March is a global movement which consists of thousands of members in more than 80 countries worldwide. They advocate for various issues that affect women and other marginalized groups, including reproductive rights, LGBTI+ rights, and worker’s rights.
The Bali chapter is small, but they first took to the streets in 2018, and haven’t looked back since. This month, they’ve already organized a series of events, including a film screening and a talk show on transgender rights in Indonesia. On Sunday, April 5th, they were scheduled to host their annual parade through the heart of Bali’s capital. Though this year's march has been postponed, we encourage you to check out @womensmarchbali for alternative ways to support the movement.
Learn a little more about Kartini
On April 21st, Indonesians will celebrate Kartini Day, to honour one of Indonesia’s founding feminists. Raden Adjeng Kartini, born in 1879, was a Javanese aristocrat who became a fierce proponent for gender equality and education. In 1903, she opened the first Indonesian primary school for girls, and has since become a national symbol for women’s empowerment.
Next to wearing the traditional attire of a kebaya and sarong, we suggest celebrating Kartini Day by reading up on her legacy, and on other pioneering women like Dewi Sartika and Roehana Koeddoes.
Support some brilliant initiatives
Though we’ve come a long way, women’s rights are still under immense pressure in Indonesia. That’s why for us, being a sustainable fashion brand also means being an ethical one — always learning how we can create a better and more just industry for the women we work with and for.
Besides implementing fair and safe working standards across our whole production chain, we also make an effort to support other female-led initiatives. To help you do the same, here’s a quick list of some organisations doing wonderful work in Bali.
Baliwise are an organisation working to empower marginalized women on the island through education and vocational skill training.
BIWA is Bali International Women’s Association, who support families throughout Bali with education, reproductive health and counseling.
GSHRUdayana is the organisation behind the first ever Women’s March in Bali. Today, they act as a resource center and a safe space to discuss issues relating to gender, sexuality and human rights.
Yayasan Bumi Sehat is a health center focused on providing birth services, education and maternal care in rural areas.
Futuwonder is an interdisciplinary collective supporting women’s position in the arts.
Mountain Mamas is a social enterprise empowering rural women in Bali to produce alternative bags made from pre-loved materials. The project is an initiative from Bye Bye Plastic Bags, a female-led movement against single-used plastics.
Magdalene is one of Indonesia’s first feminist online magazines. They’re not based in Bali, but the bilingual website is a valuable resource for anyone looking to learn more about women’s issues in Indonesia. Expect refreshing, in-depth reports on everything from religious freedom to queer history.
In our current climate, these organisations will need more support from us than ever. We hope this guide inspires you to learn more about the campaigns and changemakers working to lift women up every day. If you know of other great Bali-based initiatives we should highlight, drop us a line and we’ll add it to the list. In the meantime, stay safe — and let's take care of each other.
Image credits: Unsplash, Collectie Tropenmuseum (Public Domain), Mountain Mamas