International Women’s Day, the right moment to speak up

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Virtual talkshow with Gusti Arirang, moderated by the Coordinator of the Committee for the Study of the Rights of Women, Children and Gender Diversity, Amnesty International Indonesia Chapter UNAIR, Apriska Widiangela. (Photo: SS Zoom)

UNAIR NEWS – Every March 8, the world always commemorates an important day in the history of women’s movement and empowerment, International Women’s Day. The day is also commemorated by Amnesty International Indonesia Chapter UNAIR, which invited six female figures working as defenders of women’s human rights in various fields as speakers in a talk show. The event, held by a group of human rights defenders, was themed “Celebrating Women Human Rights Defenders”.

This activity invited speakers to join the brief talk show and the results of interviews released on Amnesty International Indonesia Chapter UNAIR Instagram TV, in one week, March 8 – 13, 2021. The first speaker was Gusti Arirang, a vocalist and bassist of Tashoora.

The discography and lyrics of Tashoora contain criticism of the socio-political dynamics that exist in Indonesia, especially regarding women’s rights in a song titled “Agni”. Gusti said that the role in works of art, especially music, is that they can amplify and spread a message. She added that the simple reason why Tashoora chose the path to express their opinion was because music was the closest medium to them.

“In the context of defending women’s rights, works of art do not have the capability to change social constructions or create new policies related to a problem. Therefore, we need supports from friends who fight for women’s rights in other media such as advocacy, street protest, and many more. This is a collective action, we march together,” said Gusti.

Gusti argues that women still face inequality and experience some restrictions on access and rights in today’s social order. Even so, she has optimism in the struggle for gender equality because many elements of society have started to voice their supports regarding the importance of gender equality, and especially regarding women’s rights. This UGM Communication Science alumni still regrets the response of the state which tends to ignore the urgency of fulfilling women’s rights.

“In composing music for Tashoora, we tried to use the perspective of vulnerable groups. So we see which vulnerable groups need to be defended or need support because their rights are limited, that’s where Tashoora comes in. One of these vulnerable groups is women, ”said the eldest daughter of artist Djaduk Ferianto.

Based on this paradigm, Gusti explained that the composition of Tashoora’s discography always made an effort to hear the perspectives of vulnerable groups or individuals themselves. Take for example the song “Agni” which criticizes the silencing of sexual violence victims at a famous campus in Jogja to seek justice on the basis of ‘the good name of the campus’, friends in Tashoora have a dialogue with key people who play a role in the case, including the victim himself.

Finally, Gusti reflected on International Women’s Day which is celebrated this year as a moment to speak up more loudly regarding the fulfillment of women’s rights and gender equality in Indonesia. The COVID-19 pandemic has a big role in increasing cases of gender-based violence in Indonesia because on average, the perpetrators of violence are people who live in the same house as the victims.

“There is sadness I feel when welcoming this day because the fact has not yet thrilled the authorities to provide a reliable legal protection. But don’t let this situation dampen our enthusiasm in voicing women’s rights, “she concluded.

Author: Pradnya Wicaksana

Editor: Nuri Hermawan

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