Therefore, the women of Indonesia should unite to advance this nation through various approaches ..."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Themed "Equality of Women and Men in Creating a Conducive Environment for the Protection of Women and Children," Mothers Day on December 22, 2015, is symbolic for Indonesian women to unite to advance the nation.

Mothers Day in Indonesia is celebrated to commemorate the services of women, who have played an intrinsic role in the nations struggle to achieve independence.

December 22 was chosen to commemorate the anniversary of the day when the first Indonesian Womens Congress (Kowani) was opened in 1928 in Yogyakarta, which was attended by the representatives of thirty feminist organizations.

The congress focused on granting greater rights to women in the areas of marriage and education, and thus, Mothers Day was originally commemorated to celebrate the spirit of Indonesian women.

Mothers Day is not the only holiday dedicated to Indonesian women. On April 21, Indonesians celebrate Kartini Day in memory of Raden Ajeng Kartini, one of the first Indonesian feminists and women rights activists.

In keeping with this years theme of Mothers Day, Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa has invited all Indonesian women to stand united, with the common goal of advancing the nation.

"Together, let us commemorate Mothers Day this year to serve as a momentum to advance the nation," Parawansa noted.

She also lauded the 22 women candidates who emerged victorious in the simultaneous regional head elections held in 264 regions on December 9, 2015, as female regional heads are the symbols of women in politics.

"Significant votes for female candidates for regional heads in the elections will strengthen the role of women as decision makers in various areas, mainly to reduce poverty," Parawansa remarked.

On the other hand, she expressed concern over the high divorce rate, especially through litigation, which would only lead to children becoming victims.

"Therefore, the women of Indonesia should unite to advance this nation through various approaches, including by avoiding unregistered marriages," the social affairs minister affirmed.

Gender equality issues are often voiced by social activists, women, and the politicians of this country.

Awareness among women regarding gender equality continues to increase along with the demand for equal rights as enjoyed by men.

In a recent meeting between women leaders and the heads of womens organizations to achieve the future goals of gender equality, Regional Representatives Council (DPD) Deputy Chairperson Gusti Kanjeng Ratu (GKR) Hemas invited all mothers to unite and work together for the advancement of women in Indonesia.

According to Hemas, gender equality in Indonesia was still a distant dream as the bill on the abuse of women and children had yet to be discussed by the House of Representatives (DPR).

"We hope the DPR this year would discuss the law on the abuse of women and children and would include it in the 2016 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas 2016)," she noted.

In the meantime, Kowani Chairman Giwo Rubianto Wiyogo pointed out that in times of national struggle, the women have united for the independence of the nation.

"The struggle of women in the country is apparent by the formation of Kowani on December 22, 1928. Thus, we celebrate Mothers Day on December 22 every year as it is a great and important chapter in Indonesian history," Wiyogo noted.

He emphasized that the women of Indonesia must unite and become a single entity in the country.

Further, Women Empowerment and Child Protection Minister Yohana Yambise also invited all public elements to play their role in the efforts to curb maternal mortality rate and early age marriages.

"The people of Indonesia have to make every effort to reduce the maternal mortality rate and put a stop to the practice of early age marriages as mandated by the founder of the nations mothers in the Kowani," affirmed Yembise.

Yembise explained that the maternal mortality rate in Indonesia was still relatively high, and therefore, she urged all parties to reduce it.

"We urge all parties, governments, communities, womens organizations, community organizations, religious organizations, and men, as the husbands, to help suppress maternal and infant mortality rates," she affirmed.

According to Yembise, data from the 2012 Indonesian Demographic and Health Survey (SDKI) revealed that there were 369 maternal deaths per 100 thousand live births in the previous year compared to 228 deaths per 100 thousand live births in 2007.

"Globally, the maternal mortality rate is 123 per 100 thousand births, but it is high in Indonesia, with 369 per 100 thousand births," Yohana remarked.

During her visit to New York in May this year, Yohana spoke about the significant progress achieved by the women in Indonesia.

"However, one issue that concerns us all is that the maternal mortality rate is still high, and therefore, we must work together to overcome it and save the mothers," the women empowerment minister affirmed.

In addition, she pointed out that there were large number of cases of domestic violence and violence against children.

"Domestic violence and the violence against children should be our common concern," she added.

Reporter: Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2015