By Emmi Roche
(International Friends of JP Since 2021)
I have a passion for seeing women be happy, have power in creating the lives they want for themselves and their family where they are heard and have the freedom to have what they want in life and make their own decisions powerfully. So, when Gadis Arivia, the founder of Jurnal Perempuan shared with me about Jurnal Perempuan’s work, I embraced the mission instantly and I was eager to help the cause. I like the research-based advocacy work and the idea of creating a space for women scholars and activists to write and document gender issues in Indonesia. As we all know, women are seldom supported in research that pertains to gender issues. It is research that is never considered important in academia and our society. At least when I was a lecturer at Brawijaya University in East Java in the 1980s, hardly any gender issues were discussed at that time.
When I went to college in Bogor, I realized for the first time that I was being raised in a matrilineal culture, where women inherited property from their mothers. Later on, I became aware of gender issues when I traveled the world. I met my husband at the University of Brawijaya, and soon after, we went to the Philippines for 18 years and then retired to the US. My family is a multicultural family where east meets west, and we raised our children grounded in both worlds. My husband is a US citizen, and I am originally from West Sumatera, of the Minangkabau tribe, with a solid matrilineal family. In my culture, women inherited lands from their mothers. My mother was a teacher and wanted me to get a higher education. From the time I was a small girl, she promised me if need be, to sell a piece of land in order to send me to college. Women have full authority over the land. In that sense, naturally, women have the power to make decisions. I realized how lucky I was to have grown up in a culture that valued women and gave them a strong role in household decision-making and the public sphere.
Currently, I am taking a 2-year course in Team Management and Leadership Program. In this course, I am being trained to become an effective leader who can produce results in any area of life with freedom, and create a team and teamwork in any situation. For me, leadership skills are essential in empowering others. When I see a woman struggling in their relationship with others (family members, coworkers, community, etc.), I can feel their pain. I have empathy and compassion for them. I want them to feel heard, and the least I can do is listen to them generously. By being there for them, they feel that someone cares; they are not alone.
Through my course, love, compassion generosity, and solidarity are emphasized. We are here to support and empower each other. Indonesia is no longer my home country, but it is home in my heart. Through the work of Jurnal Perempuan, I am a part of a community that values women’s research, thinking, and being. I am committed to helping Jurnal Perempuan expand women's knowledge and apply it to create change and transformation. We all can help or chip in whatever way we can. I encourage you to visit Jurnal Perempuan's donation page today.