Indonesian Mother's Day




Mother and Child

A mother’s attention and affections cannot ever be replaced with wealth or material things. Her undying devotion to her children is faultless and unconditional. The best thing about her love is that she doesn’t expect anything in return.

Here is an article written by: Putu Geniki L. Natih about Mother's Day:
Mother's Day is a day honoring mothers, celebrated on various dates around the world. Usually viewed as a time for children to express their love and thanks to their mothers perhaps with flowers, gifts or even by freeing mum from domestic chores, one feels that it must also be a day on which governments around the world can reflect and act upon the United Nations Millenium Development Goals (MDG) dedicated to "Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment" (Goal 3), and "The Improvement of Maternal Health" (Goal 5).

The history of Mother's Day, or Hari Ibu in Indonesia, dates back to 1928 when a group of pioneering women gathered together to hold "The First Congress of Indonesian Women" in Yogyakarta from Dec. 22 to 25. This momentous event, held at the building later to be named "Mandalabhakti Wanita Tama", on Jl. Adisucipto, was attended by some 30 women's organizations from 12 cities in Java and Sumatra. One of the results of this congress was the formation of what is now called Kongres Wanita Indonesia, The All-Indonesian Women's Congress.

A women's organization dedicated to 19th century heroines such as Cut Nyak Dien, M. Christina Tiahahu, Cut Mutiah, R.A. Kartini, Walanda Maramis, Dewi Sartika, Nyai Achmad Dahlan and Rangkayo Rasuna Said, among others, had been in existence since 1912. The 1928 Congress sought to shed light on the people and past events related to women's struggle for independence in Indonesia, thereby invigorating the cause of women and bringing gender-related concerns to the forefront of public attention.

Heads of women's organizations came together at the 1928 Congress to share ideas and to unite in their courageous attempts to fight for freedom and to generally improve the position of women in society. At that time, among the issues considered were: The uniting of all Indonesian women, the role of women in the struggle for the nation's independence, the role of women in various aspects of human development, the improvement of health and nutrition for mothers and infants and the significance of child marriage from a female perspective. Suffice it to say, the thoughts and actions of these committed women were a vital contribution to the nation's development.

Today, when we consider MDG 3 in the context of all that those women and other brave women around the world have done, we find that the first target is yet to be achieved. Target 1 seeks to "Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education, preferably by 2005 and in all levels of education no later than 2015."

However, girls still wait for equal primary school access in some regions and targeted action is needed to help girls from poor rural areas to stay in school. Job opportunities open up but women often remain trapped in insecure, low-paid positions. Women in Indonesia and other developing nations are slowly gaining ground in political decision-making, but progress is erratic and marked by regional differences.

When we turn to MDG 5, "The Improvement of Maternal Health", we see from monitoring results that there is still a long way to go. It aims to reduce by three-quarters the maternal mortality ratio, but the high risk of dying in pregnancy or childbirth still gives great cause for concern in Indonesia; skilled health workers at delivery are the key to improving outcomes.

Looking globally, thus we may say that the Chinese proverb, "Women hold up half the sky", has long been more of an aspiration than a fact. The world still sees large gaps related to gender differences, whether in the area of employment, health and health care, wages, political participation and especially in education.

Education is the key to reducing gender inequality, for educating girls and women will lead to higher wages, a greater likelihood of working outside the home, lower fertility and better health; above all, the impact of educating women is not only felt in the lifetimes of those women, but will be felt in the life times of future generations.

As Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus has proved time and time again through the Grameen Bank, when mothers are empowered to earn and invest, families rise above the poverty line and the hope of a brighter future is made manifest.

One of the most significant events for Indonesia's women took place in 1946, when Maria Ulfah Santoso became the first woman ever to be a minister. Since that time, the number of women holding political positions has gradually risen and career women are becoming increasingly evident in Indonesia.

The rise of smaller, insular families where both parents work and the decline of extended families where grandparents were on hand to look after the children has created its own challenges for today's families and a generation raised not by mums and dads but by nannies and helpers.

There is still much to do to reduce the persistent gender gap but this Mother's Day, in a world that must deal not only with gender issues but with so many deeds spawned by hatred and cruelty, we may be sure that all mothers long for the well-being of their children. No mother ever wants to lose a child through war, sickness or malnutrition. As mothers teach us, we can never love too much; true love only multiplies and returns to bless us many times over. Selamat Hari Ibu. Happy Mother's Day.





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1 Respones to "Indonesian Mother's Day"

Angeline said...

Indeed, she doesn't expect anything in return....


December 27, 2008 at 9:21 AM

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