The Newsletter 61 Autumn 2012

Women on the move

Su Lin Lewis

Reviewed publication:
Mina Roces and Louise Edwards (eds.) 2010. Women’s Movements in Asia. Feminisms and Transnational Activism, New York: Routledge, 288 pages, ISBN: 9780415487023 (hardback)

In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami, NGOs poured into the Indonesian province of Aceh to assist in the recovery eff ort. The NGO that I worked for, like most others, imported a professional gender expert to ensure that gender issues were properly addressed in its aid programmes. She had never been to Aceh, or even Indonesia before. An Acehnese colleague, a Muslim feminist and social activist, unsurprisingly questioned the wisdom of spending a significant amount of our budget to fly in a foreign gender ‘expert’. Aceh’s history boasts a legacy of four queens, a female navy commander, and women warriors; in a more recent century, countless Indonesian women have campaigned for a more just and equal society.

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