The commemoration of International Women Days (IWD) was marked by a peaceful action in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya on Tuesday March 8. Taking up the theme "Fighting gender discrimination", the protest by women activists was held at the Surabaya Square.
IWD Surabaya Chairperson Syska Laveggie said that the priority for this year's action was addressing the issue of gender equality, which according to Laveggie is yet to be enjoyed by women in Indonesia.
"We want all cases of sexual harassment in the education sphere and schools through to campuses to be immediately investigated and [the perpetrators] punished appropriately", said Laveggie following the action.
The women activists did not just hold an action, but also put on a cardboard shadow puppet (wayang) art performance.
"We held a cardboard wayang workshop. This wayang [performance] is to take up our demands in a more aesthetic way so people see it as more communicative", she said.
Laveggie further explained that this year's IWD theme internationally is "break the gender bias", and they are taking up a similar theme at IWD Surabaya this year.
"This is very relevant with the IWD Surabaya theme. We do indeed feel that a gender bias is still happening. So we want to fight this gender bias", she asserted.
Laveggie added that many people were prevented from taking part in this year's IWD rally because it fell on a weekday.
"Also the [police] permit only allowed 70 people, so we didn't hold a long-march, we only had speeches in front here, we maximised it", she explained referring to Covid-19 health restrictions in Surabaya.
Later on March 12, all of the cardboard wayang puppets that they made will be on display at the Samatha House on Jalan Pucang. "So those who couldn't come can see them at the Samatha House", she said. (Ade/SL1)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Peringati International Women Days, Aktivis Perempuan Surabaya Gelar Aksi Damai".]