Gender Inequality

Indonesia's tales of 'Mighty Girls' break down gender barriers and stereotypes

Muslim children react as they play outside a mosque in North Penajam Paser regency, East Kalimantan province, Indonesia, August 28, 2019. Picture taken August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1808A390B0

The Asia Foundation is seeking a change in perceptions of Indonesia's women. Image: REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

Beh Lih Yi
Correspondent, Thomas Reuters Foundation
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Gender Inequality?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Gender Inequality is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Gender Inequality

From a schoolgirl who fights plastic pollution to real-life heroines, 800 Indonesian women are telling stories to change beliefs about girls, the project's organiser said on Tuesday.

The Southeast Asian country has one of the world's highest numbers of child brides, with one in four girls wed before the age of 18, United Nations' figures show, as old-fashioned social attitudes persist despite recent economic advances.

From next month, the women will read a series of illustrated e-books to local boys and girls in a bid to smash stereotypes and male dominance in the world's most populous Muslim country.

"It will open their eyes to all the possibilities they can have as girls," said Morgan Belveal from the U.S.-based charity The Asia Foundation, which runs the project as part of its free, digital library for children in local languages.

"It starts a conversation in society that it is no longer acceptable that women are restricted to traditional roles," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

A 2017 government survey found one-third of Indonesian women have faced physical or sexual violence, with cases most common among those with higher education and in urban areas.

The books were written in collaboration with Asian writers and illustrators as part of an Asia-wide collection known as the "Mighty Girls", which features fictional and real-life stories, such as that of Indonesia's first female journalist.

Another tells the story of an Indonesian girl in the tourist island of Bali who is a student by day and a superheroine by night, tackling social issues like plastic waste.

"We don't have a lot of books with strong female characters in Indonesia," said Sofie Dewayani, an Indonesian author who will be among the 800 reading ambassadors.

"This will help us break the stereotypes about Indonesian women. There should be no boundaries for a woman to pursue her dreams," she said by phone from the Indonesian city of Bandung.

Indonesia was ranked 85 out of 149 countries in the World Economic Forum's 2018 Gender Gap Index, scoring poorly on women's educational attainment and economic participation.

Have you read?
Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Gender InequalityEducation
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Digital public infrastructure – blessing or curse for women and girls?

Gerda Binder and Carolin Frankenhauser

March 5, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum