Feminist movement builders in Indonesia are sharpening their pencils and booting up their laptops. Fourteen young women from across Indonesia recently came together to improve their writing skills as a critical tool for effective activism and advocacy. “I want to write about the difficulties experienced by rural women in accessing health facilities,” said Sutiyem. “And I want to alert the responsible parties that women’s rights to adequate health care are still being ignored.” The “Writeshop,” which was initiated and organized by JASS Southeast Asia activists, provided a supportive community and space for the activists to define and articulate topics, and to test out approaches.
The JASS team invited several professional writers to share their skills and experiences. These included former journalists Muninggar Sri Saraswati (The Jakarta Post), on straight news writing, and; Hera Diani, (The Jakarta Globe) on feature writing and humanitarian stories. Ignatius Haryanto, a lecturer at The University of Nusantara, gave tips on writing powerful opinion pieces. Maria Hartiningsih, a leading female journalist from one of Indonesia’s best known newspapers, also spoke about writing from a gendered perspective.
The young feminists learned how to determine which of the various writing styles presented were most appropriate for connecting with different audiences, and for achieving specific goals and objectives at any particular moment. Many of the women noted that they would use their new skills to widely share grass root community organizing experiences with other activists. The group also wrote an advocacy letter on behalf of a JASS alumna who is in prison for her organizing work.