Acehnese Women



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In Aceh, from the early fifteenth century until Indonesian independence came in 1945, women had been given the opportunity to be leaders of the country and to participate in public life. In that times, there appeared many important women figures at the national level, either as leaders of the government or as a heroes in struggle against the Dutch colonialists. These role of women in Acehnese society largely owe to matriarchal system.

The prominent women figures in Aceh including: Admiral Keumalahajati (in the late 1500s), four queens whose successively rule from 1641-1700, and guerilla commander in Dutch Colonial War era (such as: Cut Nya' Dhien, Cut Meutia, Pocut Baren, Pocut Mirah Inteun). 

During struggle for national freedom (1945-49), the women of the "Revolution of 45" in Aceh not only served as public kitchen staff and "Pasukan Bulan Sabit" (health staff), but also involved themselves actively in fighting, like "Pocut Baren Regimen."

But since the independence of Indonesia in late 1949, the condition of women in Aceh has been declining and has become not far different from the condition of women in other parts of Indonesia. It may be assumed that Acehnese women's position has marginalize under Indonesia paternalistic tradition. 

More article on Acehnese women:
The Forgotten Cost of Counter-insurgency in Aceh (from "Inside Indonesia" magazine, January-March 1997)
The Politics of Gender, Islam, and Nation-State in Aceh  (Thesis abstract, 1997)
600 'Raped In Aceh Over Past Seven Years' (from The Straits Times, July 29, 1998)
A Tortured Grandmother (from The Sydney Morning Herald, August 29, 1998) 
The Wake Up Call for Acehnese Women (NYU Conference, December 12, 1998)
Muslim Women In Freedom Fight (from The Christian Science Monitor, July 23, 1999)
A Widow's Notes (from "Inside Indonesia" magazine, April - June 2000) 
Defending Women’s Rights in Aceh (from Tapol, April 2000)

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Last modified: June 28, 2000