Kartini, Javanese Princess who Inspires Indonesian Women

Raden AJen Kartini was born in 21 April 1879, in Jepara, Central Java. She was one Jepara mayor Raden Mas Adipati Ario Sosroningrat’s 12 children from several wives. She was graduated froom elementary school which was privilege for those who belonged to royal family or Dutch decent.  and she was not allowed to continue her study by her parents. She was forced to the Javanese pingit tradition, a girl over 12 years old should stay at home until a man marry her.

During that quiet days of hers, she wrote and sent many letters to her friends abroad, expressing her ideas and spirit to rebel against old tradition which discriminated woman in many aspects. At the age of 24, an age considered too old for marriage at that time, Kartini obeyed her father to marry Raden Adipati Aryo Joyoningrat, Rembang mayor, who was already 50 years old and had three wives and dozens of children.

The marriage dashed her ambition to continue her studies abroad, though she had obtained a scholarship to study in Europe. She lived in Rembang with her husband. Her husband supported her and Kartini built women school in Rembang.  From her marriage she had one son, RM Soesalit, who was born in 1904. Few days after giving birth, Kartini died, in the age of 25. Her grave is located in Bulu village, Bulu, Rembang.

In 1912, Yayasan Kartini, continued Kartini struggle by erecting Women School in Semarang in 1912 and later built same school in Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Malang, Madiun, Cirebon and other regions. The schools are named as Sekolah Kartini. Yayasan Kartini (institution) was founded by Van Deventer, an ethic politician.

Letters of Kartini to her friends in Europe was then published entitled  Door Duisternis Tot Licht . Those letters were collected by JH Abendanon, as the Minister of Culture, Religion and Handicraft of Nederland Indies.