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Women Publishing in Asia

Indonesia

    I don't believe that Islam is more oppressive towards women than other institutionalised religions. Nor do I buy the dumb and docile image of veiled women touted by the mainstream media, particularly in Western countries. Probably because I have met some of the most radical women in my life who happen to wear veils.

    Therefore, when women in Islam raise their voices against fundamentalism, write and publish books, they help clarify prejudices in most people's minds.

    Kalyana Mitra, a women's group based in Jakarta, has been doing just that since 1985. The centre aims to be 'a good friend' to all women at all levels, especially to those who are disadvantaged by lack of access to information and communication with other women.

    Debra Yatim, a short story writer and one of the founders of Kalyana Mitra, has written extensively critiquing the resurgence of fundamentalism in Indonesia. Kalyana Mitra publishes in Bahasa Indonesia and in English. By collecting and sharing information that responds to the needs of women especially at the grassroots level, it has been able to build a strong and stable network among women across the country.

    Kalyana Mitra Women's Communication and Information Centre (YKM) can be reached at:

      J1 Jati Padang Utara Buntu no.5
      Jati Padang-Pasar Minggu
      JAKARTA 12540
      INDONESIA

      Telefax: (62)-21-7804952
      Email: ykm@indo.net.id


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    Indonesia has another women's group called Sekretariat Bersama Perempuan Yogyakarta (SBPY). Located in Yogyakarta, SBPY has been working to resist and challenge repression, discrimination and exploitation of women. It is an organisation concerned with empowering women which recognises the process of consciousness raising as crucial for the development of egalitarian society.

    SBPY aims to network with fellow activists and non-government organisations concerned with women's issues, to promote women's rights principally targeting low socio-economic groups and to imrove the general quality of life through empowering women and helping them to play an equal role in all areas of action.

    From time to time SBPY has advocated on behalf of women who have been ill treated by society and the legal system. Some of the notable cases are the eviction of a widow, Sarikem and her five children from their house, the protest against tax increases on market trading and the advocacy on behalf of migrant workers sparked off by the death of Atik Wardiati in Singapore. Atik died under mysterious circumstances in her employer's house in Singapore. The protest placed the issue of domestic workers on the national agenda and exposed the business of sending women overseas without a support network.

    SBPY is in the process of researching and interviewing domestic workers with the aim of bringing out a self-help guide. It also aims to publish the findings and outcomes of the gender awareness workshops.

    SBPY can be reached at:

      JI. Patehan Lor 2B
      Yogyakarta, 55133
      Indonesia

      Tel/fax: 62-0274-378652
      Email: sbpy@yogya.wasantara.net.id


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    Pauline Khong has also emailed Spinifex about her self-published anthology, which she calls her "healing journey".

    ...I believe my poetry is poetry with a difference, and the myth involved in the story is uplifting to those in need of emotional healing, or in helping to work through grief. Out of the Ashes (the title of my book) speaks to those who need to find a way of coming to terms with painful situations, and shows how through creativity, you can overcome.

    Please visit my website to gain an understanding of the book.

    Pauline Khong


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