Program Belajar

Gender Talk: How Gender Should Be a Daily Conversation

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Gender talk is a group of people or a space to discuss and understand better the issue of gender equality and women’s rights. This organization was initiated by five students of a university in Jakarta, Indonesia in November 2019.

Gender talk’s aim is to give awareness and education about the issue of gender equality, women’s rights, sexual harassment, etc. But not to conquer the world, they think their jobs pretty work when their colleagues or their friends in the university manage to understand how important is this issue to discuss and speak about.

Dara, one of the initiators of Gender Talk, agreed to speak to Act Global about this issue. According to her, this issue is so important to discuss and speak about because this issue is part of someone’s rights. She said that when we spoke about this issue, it means that we do care about other people struggling to gain their rights. She said,

Everyone has its right to choose its gender, everyone has its right to get their education, everyone has their right of not being abused, and so on, therefore, speaking about this issue is an obligation as human beings.”

In this flood of information era, Dara explains that Gender talk is focused on talking about this problem.  She has to be consistent in speaking out more about these matters.  Even in personal stuff, sometimes she puts this issue in her daily conversation with her colleague and friend. And the fact that raising awareness about gender equality in Indonesia has never been an easy journey. Dara explains it happen because Indonesia has a patriarchal culture. This patriarchal culture has been a huge wall that she and her friends should face for achieving their goals. Which is, gender equality. But, She and her friends never give up because they believe this issue is still important to discuss and speak about no matter what the barrier is.

“And what we need to do first is to bring down this patriarchal culture and liberate all the women who still believe that they are just another complementary to others or think their value is not as important as men,” She Said.

Gender Talk joined the rally about 16 days of anti-sexual Harassment from 25 November to 10 December 2020

Yet, before we speak more about this issue and to add the context to our conversation, We asked Dara, what gender is? According to her, gender is an identity and the right to choose what she/he is better known for. To understand it more comprehensively, WHO defined gender as characteristics of women, men, girls, and boys that are socially constructed. This consists of norms, behaviors, and roles associated with being a woman, man, girl, or boy, as well as relationships with each other. As a social construct, gender varies from society to society and can change over time. But, gender interacts with but is different from sex, which refers to the different biological and physiological characteristics of females, males, and intersex persons, such as chromosomes, hormones, and reproductive organs.
Gender and sex are related to but different from gender identity. Gender identity refers to a person’s deeply felt, internal, and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond to the person’s physiology or designated sex at birth.

“Then, why has gender been a problematic side in our society? in terms speaking of gender in Indonesia”

Dara told us that gender identity has become a problem in our society due to the patriarchal culture she implied before. She explained, in a patriarchal culture system, someone’s identity has always been categorized by two terms, and these two only, which is, male and female. Or masculine and feminine. As a matter of this belief, society tends to agree that when someone is choosing another identity, they call it abnormal.

“This condition makes our works a little bit harder because our society believes that when someone is choosing another gender as their identity other than male and female, they will blatantly be accused as sick or has a mental illness or simply freak when in a literature and books said otherwise and it is normal,” Dara said strongly and this problem according to Dara is rooted in capitalism which practiced the patriarchal culture.

Speaking about this issue has always come to the case of discrimination and the limitation of rights of other people. And in this issue, women and the LGBTQ community are the victims of this condition. Dara told us that this violation of rights and discrimination against women and the LGBTQ community has always come from a patriarchal system.

She said, in the male-chauvinist a.k.a patriarchal culture, women are always considered as the second sex, not superior, objectified, or in an extreme case, women being considered as a handicap, while man is considered as civilized, more superior, and perfect. Therefore, women tend to get discrimination and other bad things.

In the case of LGBTQ, this is even more discriminating and sad to know. In a patriarchal society, there is no identity other than male or female. So, the LGBTQ community has always been accused of being abnormal, because in their terms, queer, non-biner, gay, lesbian, bisexual considered never existed. As a result of this belief, LGBTQ sometimes did not get their rights and were discriminated against.

Seeing how this still happens around us, what is a little thing we can do to raise awareness about the importance of this issue? Dara said the first thing we can do of course is to apply the value of gender equality in our daily activities. Dara believes, action is louder than words.



Written by Harun Arrasyid

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