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this is a story about Javanese (one of largest tribe in Indonesia) women...

Call her Ita, a 28 years women live with her husband named Surya and Ajeng, her daughter
her marriage was not in a good condition from the beginning. Surya asked Ita to quit from her job and be a real housewife. it doesn't matter for her, because Surya has several reason:

-if a women is being a wife already, her life is depend on her husband
-husband will be ashamed if his wife tired and stress of work
-other will judge the husband because allowing his wife to work

But not too long after she quit and getting pregnant, many problem comes up....
Surya is still not having a permanent job with permanent salary, so when Ita need money she will ask her parents to cover her financial problem.
Surya is always get mad when Ita doing her freelance job, even shes work at home as a graph designer to cover family's need.

Surya is type of traditional man...who don't want his wife achieving everything top of him, wife is should depend on her husband, can't be independent. Ita's responsibilities are around her house, should look pretty when attending wedding ceremony and being nicest front of her husband, even Ita is not willing to.

So what do you think about this story...
This women role is culturally bounded
Even now we can see flexibility in applying the role, but there are still so many women likes Ita in Java.
Hard to face it and not easy to asking the women emancipation here...


jadefrank's picture

Breaking tradition

Hi Rahma,

Thank you for sharing the story of Ita and women like her in Java. As women, so many traditional roles fall upon us. We are mothers, daughters, friends and wives. We are caretakers, child bearers, house cleaners, cooks. We provide emotional support, love, tenderness and advice. But when women like Ita seek to also have professional careers, to contribute to the finances of the family and to contribute to society with their talents, they should not be held back.

I hope that this traditional role for women in Java can change to include professional work and that possibly the traditional role of men can also change to include support that is not just financial, but supporting their wives in the choices they make.

Warm regards,

rahma's picture


Hi Jade..
Well..even now Javanese man-women are more flexible applying the role, but not for traditional man or for those who come from noble family.There are many story of women from noble family who doing public job, has a good position but when she going back to her home, she's under her husband control. Even though her husband is well educate, knowing about emancipation, he has to control his wife at home.

In Java husband-wife use different language, wife should use high level language when speaking to husband (we call it "kromo") but husband use lower level language to his wife (we call it "ngoko")
in java, there are three language level, kromo alus, kromo inggil and the lowest is ngoko.

hmm..i promise you to continuing my story Jade, soon.

warm regards,


JaniceW's picture

thank you for sharing this story

Rahma... it is so interesting to read about the traditional roles of women in other countries. I am of Chinese descent and know a lot about the cultural expectations of women. Even though I grew up in New Zealand, some criticized my parents for educating my sister and I, as traditionally it is considered a waste of money as the daughters marry out of the family (and thus no longer provide value to their family) and once married, they become housewives so have no need for education. In fact, it only causes trouble as then the wife speaks her mind. It has taken many generations for educated women to find a place in marriage as in the past (and still today, in some instances), the husbands feel ashamed and lose face when their wives speak out, are independent or do not agree with or submit to their husband's will. It is seen as the husband not being able to control his wife.

Thank you for your story and I hope it encourages others to share their stories about the role of women in their country or culture. Best wishes to you.

rahma's picture

your welcome

hi Janice...
actually i still want to continuing my story about Javanese women, but i do not have enough time to write yet.
thanks for sharing your story with me.

warm regards,


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