In 1909, when the first International Women’s Day was observed, women could not vote or hold public office. While the struggle for gender equality and women’s empowerment continues to this day, we have come a long way. At Green School, we believe that schools are as much spaces for teaching and learning, as for thinking critically and taking action. From an early age, students are encouraged to reflect, question and make an impact now. One of the areas where our community seeks to make impact now, is in making our society more equitable and re-imagining a better world for our women and girls … be it through our unique approach to Valentine’s Day, which is observed as Violence Against Women Day, or through our Quests and Greenstone programs, which are capstone projects for Middle and High School respectively where a number of projects focus on this very mission.
On this International Women’s Day, join us in celebrating four Indonesian women in our community, who epitomize the mission of making an impact, who make themselves heard, and who continue to inspire us every day.
Ibu Putu Eka Sri Arianstini is the embodiment of female empowerment. She is a mother of three daughters, financially supporting her family, on the governing council of her Banjar (village) and the Executive Assistant to Head of High School & Indonesian Studies Teacher at Green School Bali.
“Being a mother and juggling all these responsibilities is sometimes hectic but I am motivated to prove that as Balinese women, we are able to do things no one thought were possible. As women we should nurture our families, serve our communities and create opportunities as well as support other women in the professional arena. I am driven by a belief in the power of action and belief in an individual’s ability to influence social change.”
Yuka witnessed first hand the impact of COVID on her community, and especially on women and girls where she saw many women lose their jobs. As a Green School Bali High School Student and Local Scholar, Yuka was motivated to spend her Greenstone – a High School capstone project at Green School – to address this issue. Her mission: to improve the livelihoods of Balinese women across the island.
“Now more than ever I realize how incredibly fortunate I am, and seeing these Balinese girls and women struggling, hurts me. I feel the need to do something for the Balinese girls and women. I want to empower them. I want to help them.”
Ibu Puri Wahyuni’s love for science was born in High School, when a biology teacher really nurtured her interest in science and encouraged her to participate in class. She decided to pursue a degree in Biology and inspired by her mother, who is a Science teacher for Middle School, Ibu Puri also became a teacher. Ibu Puri has been teaching at Green School for eleven years.
“My students and I share thoughts and ideas; I learn tremendously from my students, and what I value about the Green School ethos is how, together, we are a community of lifelong learners.”
Dr. Ni Putu Tirka Widanti, is the President of the Kul-Kul Foundation at Green School Bali, the legal entity governing the school. She has dedicated her life to the field of education in Bali. From a family with a rural, agrarian background, she went on to become a Senior Lecturer and Rector/Chancellor of University Ngurah Rai, a researcher on Balinese culture, an advocate for female empowerment, as well an Advisor in the Bali Legislative Council in addition to her role at Green School.
“Balinese women truly appreciate, and are viewed as the custodians of, Balinese family life and culture. But they also have tremendous capability as professionals with their strong work ethic. My message to young women out there is that as long as you are affecting positive change, do not be afraid to express your opinion in public, no matter what societal norms set out for you. It is obligatory to have a voice, to give, and be an example, if you want others in your community to follow suit and be better.”