April is identical to Indonesian Women Emancipation month, the month when Ibu Kartini, the Indonesian women empowerment figure was born. Kartini lived in the era when women were prohibited to pursue higher education and expected to marry. On the other hand, Kartini believed that women are entitled to study as it provides empowerment and enlightenment. In today’s world, Ibu Kartini’s ideas are spread and accepted so well, although the stigma for women to serve the family only still extant. In this article, Nimas Mega Purnamasari (Master of Applied Linguistics from Monash University, Australia) shares her experiences in implementing her views regarding how important it is for women to keep improving their potential through taking multiple leadership positions and flying around the world.
Hi Mega! Kindly introduce yourself.
Hi everyone! My name is Nimas Mega Purnamasari. You can call me Mega. I was originally from Surabaya, but now I live in Jakarta. Currently, I am managing @america as a Content and Programming Manager. @america is the US Embassy’s American people and cultural center focusing on global issues such as environment, diversities, STEM, civic engagement, etc. I graduated from Monash University Australia in 2019 with a Masters of Applied Linguistics with the Indonesia Endowment Fund of Education (LPDP) scholarship. I am interested in several issues such as environment, education, and youth development, as well as women empowerment. I guess my interest in women’s empowerment is unintentionally reflected in the composition of my team, as two-thirds of my team members are females. (I lead 11 people, for your information).
Besides working, now I am in charge of the selection process of Pertukaran Pemuda Antar Negara PCMI Jawa Timur (Inter-State Youth Exchange). Also, I am a mentor and guest lecturer in several universities, while running two businesses. With my team, we are developing eco bags with vegan leather as a material.
I feel a sense of happiness if I could share my knowledge and empower people. Therefore, I use digital platforms to disseminate my ideas and views. On my Instagram, I promote issues regarding youth development and women empowerment. You can check it out here. Furthermore, I run @immature.ameteurs with my friend, an account where I share hot topics from different perspectives.
It seems like you have tons of activities. Could you tell us more about your activities in the past?
Yes! I am proud to say that I am that active and energetic woman. Tons of activities never get me tired, but excite me a lot. Before commencing my master’s degree, I participated in several organisations such as Sobat Bumi and AIESEC. In 2015-2016 shortly after my bachelor’s graduation, I Initiated Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) for around 300 housewives in Sidoarjo, East Java. I trained them to expand their market through digital platforms. It was indeed an unforgettable experience that shaped me into who I am today.
I also initiated Secangkir Kopi (a Cup of Coffee), a small community that concerns mental health issues. I was triggered by the high number of suicide cases in Indonesia back in college,. One of the causes is that Indonesians tend to keep their problems to themselves. Hence, it is expected that Secangkir Kopi could help people, especially youths, to express their feelings and share their thoughts to make them feel better.
Another unforgettable moment was, I got a chance to participate in the Inter-State Youth Exchange in 2015, in which I represented my province to fly to China. My mission was to promote bilateral relations between Indonesia and China. I am happy to be a part of PCMI Jawa Timur, it feels like a family for me!
From what you have shared, it seems that you are eager to learn. Could you share what drives you to keep learning?
My ultimate motto is: gender equality is real. There is a lot of potential out there regardless of gender, as long as you want to enhance yourself. Especially for women, we play a huge role in society. It is such an unfortunate if we waste the potential, whatever it is. In my current position, I see many positions are filled with women, which I think could be a good sign to fight the old stereotype. For decades, women leaders were perceived as ‘emotional’. But in fact, it is not true.
I had an unpleasant experience when interviewing for a job after I finished my master degree. I was asked whether I am married or not. The company preferred a single woman, as they thought married women or women with children would not be as productive as a single one. I disagreed a lot, and I decided to discontinue the interview process although the position that I was applied for was promising. Reflecting from my personal experience, I believe that as women, we are the real definition of superheroes. I come from the broken home family, and my mom was a single mother. However, she raised me and my siblings so well. She nurtured us while working so hard to provide for us.
Very good point, Mega! Now could you share your perspective regarding the stigma that women should be the one that is fully responsible in taking care of children? What do you think about it?
I do not believe that it is a full responsibility of women to raise a child. It truly takes a village to raise a child, and men should take a role too. It should be equal and men could not ‘take it for granted’. I have a friend and she is a career woman with a toddler. One time, she just finished her work at 7 PM. She picked up her daughter at the daycare, then cleaned the house and cooked for her husband. Then, her husband came home late. Seeing her wife being busy, instead of helping her, the husband said: ‘do not blame me for finding a new wife. You could not take care of yourself now’. Well, what can you expect from her? She was that busy. This story made me think, why as a woman should we take care of everything? Why are we valued from the way we look? How about our potential?
I firmly believe that it would be healthier for the family, if the responsibilities in raising a child are shared equally between husband and wife. Unfortunately, it is still a long way to fight this stigma.
Thank you so much for sharing, Mega! Lastly, what do you think we can do to change the stigma?
The advice that I always campaign whenever I have a chance to share with the youths is, always dream high, whatever your gender is, keep enhancing your potential. Especially for women, be a woman with value. Know your worth, do not belittle yourself. Remember, women are the real definition of superhero. Do not be afraid of the stigma that women should be less than men. It can be started by pushing yourself to be open minded with new information and, but remember, no such black and white in this world. What you think is right is not always right for others and vice versa, as we live in diversity. Moreover, it is important to keep learning and moving, but keep in mind that sometimes in this hustle world, you have to know when you have to rest for your goodness. Good luck!
Nimas Mega Purnamasari (Mega) obtained Masters of Applied Linguistics from Monash University, Australia, in 2019 with the support of LPDP scholarship. Currently, Mega is managing @america as a Content and Programming Manager. Mega has a huge interest in environment, education, and youth development, as well as women empowerment.