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Breaking the Bias at Jakarta Intercultural School 

Breaking the Bias at Jakarta Intercultural School 

Jakarta Intercultural School (JIS) never fails to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) with character, charisma, and creativity!

This year, the JIS IWD committee organised celebrations from the start of the month leading up to 8th March, which is International Women’s Day, to honour and commemorate the achievements of women around the world. Throughout the fun-filled week of events and spirit, students invited guest speakers from student clubs and partner organisations and held a solidarity walk around the High School campus track. From pledges to wearing ribbons, the school community spent two weeks advocating for women’s rights, discussing pressing issues, and empowering all genders.

The celebrations started with Students and Teachers Allied Against the Normalisation of Discrimination (STAAND), a JIS High School club that works to emphasise the importance of intersectionality and individual agency in tackling discrimination at school. Incorporating the 2022 International Women’s Day theme of #breakthebias, STAAND hosted a heartfelt presentation on 1st March, Zero Discrimination Day, during which three speakers vocalised the types of discrimination they have faced. Presenters offered steps to putting an end to biases and discrimination. STAAND’s presentation was a great way to kick off the spirit week of events. Following the theme of discrimination on the second day of IWD celebrations, one of our service clubs gave a presentation on Women in Business.  

Through STAAND’s presentation, we were more aware of different types of discrimination; however, we wanted to observe how discrimination against women occurs in different fields, which led us to talk about women in business. The JIS service club Womenesia micro-finances tailors in Indonesia and aims to raise awareness about gender pay gaps and other challenges women face. Students raised awareness of the inequalities women face in salary, positions, and expectations. Presenters highlighted the importance of gender equality in the workplace by sharing examples of women entrepreneurs in Indonesia who exemplify women empowerment. Unfortunately, the inequality in the field of business isn’t the only challenge women face, it extends to access to feminine hygiene products and the lack of knowledge on menstrual health.

Breaking the Bias at Jakarta Intercultural School 
Breaking the Bias at Jakarta Intercultural School 

On 4th March, JIS High School students celebrated women’s health day. As students walked onto our lively campus, they were handed a pink ribbon and invited to stand alongside women who do not have regular access to healthcare products. The organisation Perfect Fit, a company dedicated to providing sustainable alternatives to disposable pads that are comfortable and accessible, had a discussion with JIS students from the service club Code Red, which believes that no person should feel limited by their bodies’ natural menstrual cycle. Together, Perfect Fit and Code Red discussed the myths and stigma behind menstruation and sustainable choices when it comes to feminine hygiene products. By bringing discussions into the open, they dispelled social taboos and shared why conventional pads are bad for our bodies and the environment!

What does it mean to be “in her shoes”? To be up and ready to go despite having menstrual cramps as painful as a heart attack? To be all dolled up like a boss? Or is it to be laid back and taking it easy, looking balanced? 

On 7th March, we considered what it means to be “in her shoes” with a solidarity walk around campus. The JIS IWD committee read out recent tragic incidents of violence against women around Indonesia while people walked in solidarity with the victims of femicide and hate crimes against women. At the end of the solidarity walk, participants wrote pledges to break the bias. An example was, “I pledge to normalise using the terms ‘pads’ and ‘tampons’ in public.” 

To wrap up the week, students celebrated International Women’s Day with NonaWoman and Fund the Flow, two organisations that have the same overarching goal: ending gender inequality. Fund the Flow does this through advocating, educating, and empowering individuals to believe that menstrual hygiene products are a necessity, not a luxury. Meanwhile, NonaWoman strives to talk about menstruation and all the things women go through that are still stigmatised. They hosted a presentation on breaking the bias in terms of gender, sex and race in fields such as business, school and more, explaining that bias appears in many different shapes and forms, and we must be more aware of it.

Our IWD celebration is part of Jakarta Intercultural School’s vision and mission to be Best for the World, in which students and teachers advocate for what they believe in, raise awareness about prevalent issues, and empower all individuals to believe in themselves.

By Trisha Kirpalani 

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