Assalamu’alaikum Wr. Wb.
First of all, let us praise to the Almighty Allah SWT, because of His Blessing we are able
to attend this English speech contest. Secondly, may peace be upon the prophet
Muhammad Saw who has guided us from the darkness into the brightness.
In this good opportunity, I would like to say many thanks to the adjudicators and MC
who have given me chance to deliver an English speech in front of you all.
My great appreciation also goes to all the teachers, students, and participants who have
come to this place.
Ladies and Gentlemen…
The title of my speech is “Kartini Day”.
We all know… every year, on 21st April, Indonesian people always celebrate Kartini
Day. The commemoration of Kartini Day is based on the life story of RA Kartini who is
widely regarded as a national Indonesian heroine in the women’s rights and
RA Kartini was born on 21st April, 1879 in Jepara, Central Java. Her father, Raden Mas
Sosroningrat, was the chief of Jepara Regency. At the time, Java was still a part of Dutch
Colonies. Until the late 19th century and early 20th century, Indonesian women did not
have the equal rights as men obtained. Women could not get higher education. They
were also forbidden to choose their ways of life, such as expressing ideas or opinion
and choosing husband.
Brothers and Sisters
At the time, Javanese women could not attend school. Fortunately, because Kartini was
born into a family with a strong intellectual tradition, she was then allowed to attend
school until she was 12 years old. She learned much, including Dutch Language. After
she turned 12 years old she was 'secluded' at home, a common practice among Javanese
nobility, to prepare young girls for their marriage. During seclusion, girls were not
allowed to leave their parents' house until they were married. Kartini continued to
educate herself on her own. Because Kartini could speak Dutch, she acquired several
Dutch pen friends. One of them, a girl by the name of Rosa Abendanon, became her
very close friend. Kartini read many kinds of books, newspapers and magazines about
feminist thinking. They inspired and supported Kartini to improve the conditions of
Javanese women who had a very low social status.
The letters from Kartini to her friends, especially Rosa Abendanon, were mainly about
her views of the social conditions prevailing at that time, particularly the condition of
native Indonesian women. She protested the tendency of Javanese Culture to impose
obstacles for the development of women. She depicted the sufferings of Javanese
women fettered by tradition, unable to study, secluded, and must be prepared to
participate in polygamous marriages with men they don't know.
Seven years later after Kartini died, her letters were compiled and published into a book
in 1912. The book was titled: “Door Duisternis tot Licht” or known as “Out of Dark
Comes Light” (Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang).
The publication of Kartini's letters attracted great interest in the Netherlands and
Kartini's ideas began to change the way the Dutch viewed native women in Java. Her
ideas also provided inspiration for prominent figures in the fight for Independence,
especially women’s movements.
Kartini's concerns were not just in the area of the emancipation of women, but also the
problems of her society. Kartini saw that the struggle for women to obtain their
freedom, autonomy and legal equality was just part of a wider movement.
To appreciate Kartini’s ideas for the women’s movement, in 1964, President Sukarno
declared Kartini's birth date, 21 April, as 'Kartini Day' - an Indonesian National Holiday
which we celebrate it each year until now.
Ladies and Gentlemen…
We always celebrate Kartini Day every year. The question is, what should we do in
In my opinion, celebrating Kartini Day does not only mean we must wear traditional
clothes. The most important thing is we are reminded about her struggle against
discrimination towards women. Kartini Day also means that we cannot take for granted
the idea of men and women equality. There are, however, natural differences between
women and men. Kartini’s ideas should become the inspiration for women to get equal
rights as men obtained, in education and achievement.
Ladies and Gentlemen…
Brothers, Sisters and all the Audiences…
I think that’s all my speech. I hope it will be useful for us, and I apologize if there are
mistakes in my speech. Finally, I would like to say: “Happy Kartini Day…” Hopefully
Indonesian women will always be successful in education, achievement and lifes.
Thank your very much for your attention.
Wassalamu’alaikum Wr. Wb.