Why We March
Written by Patricia Amadea Hartono
Perempuan bersatu! (Women unite!)
Tak bisa dikalahkan! (Cannot be defeated!)
Perempuan bergerak! (Women acts!)
Tak bisa dihentikan! (Cannot be stopped!)
Hancurkan! (Destroy it!)
These were the chants and responses that were echoing throughout from the street of Sarinah to the National Monument of Indonesia. The pink, purple, and white ocean of peaceful protestors walked together holding their banners high to celebrate International Women’s Day. It was a sight that we hadn’t seen since the Reformation Democracy era.
On March 4, 2017, an overcast yet warm Saturday morning, hundreds of activists joined and participated together in the Women’s March. An array of gender identities which included females, males, and bi-genders shouted their opinions about the struggles that women in the 21st century have faced and is still facing in the light of so many daily situations. Managed and conducted by 33 different organizations, the crowd aimed to address eight major issues, which included:
- Bringing back the tolerance and diversity in Indonesia.
- Gender equality in law infrastructure.
- Fulfilling women’s right for health and stopping violence against women.
- Protecting the lives of female workers.
- Building Kebijakan Public that supports women in the middle class, and disabled women.
- Improving the representation of women in the political arena.
- Eliminating discrimination and violence against the LGBT community.
- Contributing to global issues that affect women.
The long march started from Sarinah at 8 AM with 3 stopping points which included Halte Busway Bank Indonesia, Halte Busway Indosat, and ended at Halte Busway Museum Nasional. The march lasted for a powerful 5 hours without causing disturbances or any physical violence. The event was also celebrated with lines of dancers and singers who performed a variety of performance arts that represents women empowerment and contribution to Indonesia’s culture and society.
The participants also portrayed their complaint and anger through an interesting set of creative hand-made posters and banners:
- “You want to be inside? Ask my permission first.”
- “My body, my choice!”
- “There’s no gender that makes someone less human.”
- “I dress for me!”
Aside from the banners, the activists wore pink, purple, and white clothing that created a feeling of female empowerment due to societal standards that were given to these particular colors. However, there were add-ons to each costume or outfit. Blood stains could be seen covering the genital areas to represent menstrual cycles. And something else that moved mountains were the blood stains that were NOT covering genital areas, but other parts of the body. This was to signify suicide, rape and domestic violence victims over the past decade.
Many have spoken out about the fact that these marches were just a silly imitation of the marches that occurred country-wide in the United States of America back in January 2017, but we at GLIDES feel a bit differently about this. The United States, with the power that they have, might have inspired many women around the world to finally take a stand, to break the odds and expectations. And to have it happen as successfully as it did in one of the countries that often prefer to turn a blind eye on sexual harassment and delight in patriarchal gender roles, I think it’s definitely a mighty step into the right direction. Now, the challenges and opportunities in front of us are how we can take the Women’s March and turn it into an ongoing movement. We need to channel this energy and keep it growing as we prepare for a very long fight for women’s rights, not only in Indonesia, but all over the world. This is our movement and its power comes from its creative energy and commitment.
We can’t stop and we won’t stop.
Published at : Updated