Photo: Meet Raden Adjeng Kartini.

Museum RA Kartini

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Jepara’s Museum RA Kartini celebrates the life and work of Raden Adjeng Kartini (1879–1904), hailed as a national hero in Indonesia and regarded as the country’s first feminist—she was a pioneer for women’s education at the turn of the twentieth century.

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Born into an aristocratic family in Mayong, some 20 kilometres away, the family later moved to Jepara. Raden Adjeng is a title given to unmarried female aristocrats, and she is sometimes referred to as Raden Ayu, the married version or simply RA Kartini. Her father was the Regent of Jepara under the Dutch colonial government, which afforded her a Dutch eduction, but unfortunately only until adolescence as at the time Javanese tradition for upperclass girls required her to be cloistered within the confines of her family compound from puberty until she married.

Easy to find. Photo taken in or around Museum RA Kartini, Jepara, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Easy to find. Photo: Sally Arnold

To relieve her boredom, she advertised in a Dutch women’s magazine for penpals, and began correspondence that opened her eyes to European ideas of equality. She wrote of her dreams of improving education for girls and social justice not just for women in Javanese society, but of her countrymen’s struggle against Dutch colonialism. In 1903 she opened the first school for girls in Indonesia that didn’t discriminate on the basis of social class.

Ironically to escape the confines of the family compound she agreed to an arranged marriage, and a year later died from complications of childbirth. Her eloquent and passionate collection of letters were published posthumously as “Through Darkness to Light”, and later in English as “Letters of a Javanese Princess”, and went on to inspire generations of Indonesian ... Travelfish members only (Around 300 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Museum RA Kartini
1 Jalan Alun-alun, Jepara
Mo–Su: 08:00–16:00
Admission: 3,000 rupiah Monday to Friday, and 4,000 rupiah on weekends

Location map for Museum RA Kartini

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