Susi Pudjiastuti, Minister of Maritime and Fisheries
Big changes are taking place in Indonesia lately with the new President Joko Widodo (or as we Indonesians lovingly call him, Jokowi) taking office last month.
Six days after he took office, Jokowi announced his cabinet lineup to the public. Eight women out of a total of 34 have been elected as ministers. It was the highest number of female cabinet ministers that has ever been elected in our country’s history and demonstrates Jokowi’s courage in giving women an opportunity.
Gender equality opportunity seems to have a brighter future with this cabinet lineup.
One of the women ministers that has been elected is Susi Pudjiastuti. She was elected as Minister of Maritime and Fisheries.
The media have been talking about Susi all of a sudden. She even became a trending topic on Twitter. Her election as a minister created a big controversy here.
She was not someone that came from any political affiliate. She is a bit different compared with some other women in world politics, like Hillary Clinton or Angela Merkel; she is a business woman. She smokes, she doesn’t have a PhD or any prestigious titles lined up behind her name – she actually dropped out of high school and unlike some others, she didn’t drop out of school because she was poor, it was actually because she felt she wasn’t happy even when she was reportedly a bright student. She decided to follow her own path at the tender age of 17.
With roughly $75, she started her first entrepreneurship in Pangandaran, Central Java with a fishery business. In 1996 she formed her own company called PT. ASI Pudjiastuti Marine Product. After her business expanded throughout Asia and America, she realized she needed a fast and reliable way to transport the seafood products to the buyers. Then Susi Air was born. She built her own aviation company even obtaining her own pilot license. Her airline now serves publicly in many remote parts of Indonesia.
Sadly, the media coverage she received was not because of her achievements or the many awards she has received over the years. The media coverage arose because she has tattoos, because she smokes, is a social drinker and a single mom, formerly married to Caucasian men twice.
Her detractors started judging her personal life, discrediting her ability to hold her role as a minister while she jumped head first into her new job in the government and making the necessary changes.
Among the negative comments however there also has been a lot of support for Susi. I am one of those big supporters.
In my eyes, I see a strong woman, someone very capable and who seems to have a strong character and is very intelligent despite her lack of a college education. Being a successful, independent single mother will really inspire other single mothers in Indonesia. We now have the first single mother minister in the history of Indonesia.
For the Indonesian patriarchy system, this feels like a big breakthrough and already she is busy working hard to fix the maritime and fisheries industry. Jokowi believes in her and that she has what it takes to get the job done and to create breakthroughs.
Jokowi is leading the way by giving Susi Pudjiastuti and the rest of the women minister an opportunity to take important roles in the government.
I salute all of these women and wish them all the best in their new roles.
There are many women involved in politics worldwide these days. Do any female politicians inspire you? What do you think of the increased number of women’s involved in politics?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog from our writer and mother of one in Indonesia, Maureen.
The image used in this post is from Susi Pudjiastuti’s public Facebook page. You can view more images of the politician here.
Divorce is difficult for adults. Divorce is difficult for children. It is difficult for everyone. No doubt about it. I had sailed through it. Not a smooth sailing – mind you – but I learnt so much through the process. (more…)
An Indonesian father with child
Would you believe me if I tell you I have NEVER heard of Father’s Day until I moved to America in 2005.
Yes, true story!
Here in Indonesia we just simply don’t have Father’s Day.
We do have Mother’s Day on December 22, 2014. The holiday is celebrated on the anniversary of the opening day of the first Indonesian Women Congress, which was held from 22 to 25 December 1928. The Congress was attended by 30 feminist organizations from 12 cities in Java and Sumatra. In Indonesia, feminist organizations have existed since 1912, inspired by Indonesian heroines of the 19th century, e.g., Kartini, Martha Christina Tiahahu, Cut Nyak Meutia, Maria Walanda Maramis, Dewi Sartika, Nyai Ahmad Dahlan, Rasuna Said, etc. The Congress intended to improve women’s rights in education and marriage.
We also have Kartini Day on 21 April to celebrate the emancipation of women spearheaded by an activist, Raden Ajeng Kartini.
So why do we have no Father’s Day then?
Could it be because we as a country are already too patriarchy?
I actually wonder about that too. So like a good citizen, I turned to Google and did a little research.
What do you know, actually we do have one and it’s called “Hari Ayah” in Indonesian which means Father’s Day. It was declared in 2006 it falls on 12 November. That explains why very few people are aware of this and it’s not popular. Maybe because we don’t commercialize it as much as mother’s day? I have never seen an advertisement for local Father’s Day.
Technically, men still perceived to have higher place than women in Indonesia. Like it or not, that’s the truth. We are still plagued by social injustices caused by a male-dominated society that abandons women to the whims of their husbands. So maybe that’s why it is more ‘common’ to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Being from a whole intact family unit of a father and a mother doesn’t guarantee that the father is always hands-on, and I think this happens in many different countries, too. I have personally seen mentally checked out fathers who leave all the responsibilities of raising children solely to their wives by justifying they are too busy making a living for the family. Many men still believe their fatherhood role is simply to provide for the family and that’s it. I feel for women who literally are acting as single parents in a married-life.
Being a mother myself, I can truly appreciate a man who helps out his wife. I celebrate hands-on fathers, like my own father. My father is a strong dominant male figure to me and many people will be surprised by how hands-on he has been. I can still recall him changing my brothers’ diapers, doing the dishes (something he still does to this very day!) and other domestic chores without complaining, going to the market for my mother and many more. He was even actively involved in our schools’ boards. He works hard, yet, he was and is always there.
And now seeing my own younger brother being very hands-on in caring, raising his first daughter truly warms my heart. My sister-in-laws’ friends pointed out that their own husbands do not even want to change diapers, but my brother changes diapers and more.
This made me realize how lucky we are to have our father as a big role model who set great living standards of what a great father is like.
So although Father’s Day is not hugely popular here, I salute all men who break the stereotype of fatherhood in my country. Hats off to you!
When do you celebrate Father’s Day in your country? How do you celebrate Father’s Day?
This is an original post by our World Mom, Maureen of “Scoops of Joy” in Indonesia for World Moms Blog.
Photo Credit: http://www.stockvault.net/photo/152311/asian-child-with-father
It was the horrific news of sexual abuse at the Jakarta International School in Indonesia that spread the nation like a wild fire.
It was every parent’s nightmare.
It raised safety issues in school.
My son’s school is installing security cameras outside of the children’s toilets and carrying out special program called “Personal Body Safety” to teach children as early as first grade about it. And most importantly, it opened up discussions between parents and their children and that’s what happened between my son and me.
It was the news that made me read as much information as I could about child sexual abuse. By reading some really helpful articles, I realized it was time to start introducing the ‘real words’ for body parts with my son.
Yes, I had read that one is supposed to use the correct biological terms when you teach your children about their body part but I guess my own personal upbringing prevented me from doing this before. When I grew up, I did not even know what my private parts were called. My parents and their parents’ parents never openly discussed this. Sexuality was a taboo discussion back then, and sadly it carries on into today’s generations, here, in Indonesia.
At first I was uncomfortable in teaching my son to say “penis” now instead of “pee-pee”, but once I realized how this was NOT about me and my uncomfortableness, but something more important, made it easier. This is about me teaching him the right words. We talked about private body parts and how no one should touch them other than doctors IF he is sick and his private parts needs to be examined. We talked about the PANTS and how he needs to avoid being in a situation where adults are getting too close to his private parts.
Such a fine line between educating them and not scaring our children but it is very important to teach them about the boundaries and about protecting themselves. The statistics are so disturbing that your daughter has a 1 in 4 chance and your son has a 1 in 6 chance of being molested before the age of 18. Other than teaching them about private body parts I think it is also important to teach our children to listen to their guts and trust their instincts. I pray hard that my boy and all the children of the world will never have to experience such a traumatic thing but I realize knowledge and awareness are power. So we sit and watched this short movie together, my boy and I.
He asked me questions and I answered them the best that I could. Discussions went on. Yet, I realized we will have to talk about this often to instill in him about the safety parts not to scare him.
How do you talk to your children about sexual abuse?
Here is a very helpful link from the NSPCC site.
This is an original post by our World Mom, Maureen of “Scoops of Joy” in Indonesia for World Moms Blog.
Photo credit to the author.
Ever since my son started school I always have these odd feelings when it comes to socializing with the other moms.
It was my mental block.
Being a single mom, I used to fear about what the other parents will think of me and my boy. The school has been nothing but supportive and treat my boy no differently than his other friends who comes from a whole unit family.
Yes, my boy has his challenges in school.
My beautiful boy, who is a sensitive child, whose mom is quite outgoing, turns out to be shy. He sometimes has difficulty in social settings. It took him awhile to warms up to new situations and surroundings.
Maybe it was growing up alone. I raised him alone with his father without any family help or nanny until he was almost 2 years old. He had no friends around his age to play with until he started school. There were a lot of factors, yet, we are working on this together as a family. Maybe it was being an only grandson for years and having a dotting loving grandma who defends him like he’s a little king?
Yet I know he’s a loving sweet boy with a gentle soul.
When he was in per-Kindergarten and Kindergarten I did not socialize at all with the other parents from his school. Yes, I’d smile and say hi when we met at school’s events or functions but other than that I kept to myself.
I was afraid I would be judged for being a single mom.
I stood awkwardly alone in every single school events while the other kids had both their parents around. Sometimes I felt like I was wearing a big sign on my back that screamed out my status. I hate using the “I’m-a-single-mom” card unless it’s absolutely necessary. The school knew my status from day one, but not many of the other parents have known. They might eventually figure it out.
Now that my son is in the first grade, things are changing.
I have been a single mom for close to 4 years now, and I no longer feel ashamed of being one. I began to relax a bit and not really care about what other people thinks of being a divorcee.
Although I couldn’t be actively involved in school as much as I’d like to due to being a full time working mom, I am so grateful for these awesome homeroom moms.
For special moms who volunteer in school.
Here’s an ode to you lovely homeroom moms:
- Thank you for being our ‘representative’ while we working mom have to work long hours.
- Thank you for being our ‘voices’ to the homeroom teacher, assistant, and even the principal.
- Thank you for passing on to us information that sometimes was missed from the school’s communication book.
- Thank you for coordinating the costumes for our children’s school play.
- Thank you for helping individual kids who sometimes struggle alone and would be missed by the teacher or assistant because they are shy – just like my little boy.
- Thank you for the solidarity in watching and keep an eye on all our children there.
- Thank you for snapping pictures of school events and sharing them with us moms who couldn’t be there.
- Thank you for arranging a car pool.
- Thank you for devoting your time for our children.
- Thank you for being the wonderful ladies that you are.
This year, I am so grateful for these beautiful soul moms who have welcomed me warmly into the group.
Are you a homeroom mom? Are you actively involved in your children’s school?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Maureen of Scoops of Joy.
Photo credit to the author.
“What’s that one for?” I pointed to the rows of most beautiful shiniest rich dark sparkly brown bracelets at this meditation store.
“They are for fertility.” the girl smiled warmly.
And I immediately withdraw my hand, a little too abruptly maybe followed by “Oh no! No, no, no!”
Diana, my best friend couldn’t control her laugh and I giggled as we thanked the friendly shop attendant and left the store.
“Yeah you definitely don’t want to go there, yet!” Diana and I laughed about it. “Obviously, we need the daddy first!” we casually cracked jokes.
Yet when I was alone in my thoughts, deep down I can’t help but wonder.
Why did I pull those?
Out of rows of many beautiful bracelets I was drawn into those specific ones. Fertility. Why?
Is it because I’ve been having some serious baby fever? Maybe from holding those cute babies at work last week, when my colleagues came to work with their babies. The sweet soft smell of them warms my heart. The feel of their soft plump little bodies against me. Their tight little grasp on my finger.
I just miss all that.
That day at the office before the big Eid holiday many of my colleagues, my self included came to work with our kids and yes, some brought their new babies.
It was chaotic in a good way. (more…)