Gadis Arivia

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Gadis Arivia
Gadis Arivia at the International Conference on Feminism, 2016-09-24 03.jpg
Arivia in 2016
Born (1964-09-08) 8 September 1964 (age 54)
New Delhi, India
OccupationPhilosopher, activist
Known forEstablishing Jurnal Perempuan [id]

Gadis Arivia (born 8 September 1964) is an Indonesian feminist philosopher, lecturer, scholar, and activist. While teaching feminism and philosophy at the University of Indonesia, Arivia founded Jurnal Perempuan [id], Indonesia's first feminist journal, in 1996. She was arrested by the Suharto government for protesting rising milk prices in 1998.


Arivia was born in New Delhi, India, in 1964. The daughter of an Indonesian diplomat, she spent most of her childhood abroad; aside from living in India, she also spent time in Ethiopia and Hungary, where she studied at the British Embassy School in Budapest. After some time studying in Indonesia, she completed her senior high school studies at McLean High School in McLean, Virginia, while her father was stationed in Washington D.C..[1]

After completing her high school studies, Arivia enrolled in a diploma program at the University of Indonesia, later completing a degree in philosophy at the same university. While completing her baccalaureate studies, Arivia became interested in feminism. She read several works on the subject, including the writings of her lecturer, Toeti Heraty, as well as Barbara Smith's All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, But Some of Us Are Brave: Black Women's Studies.[1] She began teaching at the University of Indonesia in 1991, and was responsible for the inaugural Feminist Paradigms course before she enrolled at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in 1992. Arivia received her DEA in social psychology two years later.[2]

Upon her return to Indonesia, Arivia resumed teaching. Noting the difficulty of finding feminist materials in Indonesia and hoping to promote democratization efforts and protect minority rights, she began work, supported by Ida Dhanny, Asikin Arif, and Toeti Heraty, to establish the country's first feminist journal.[3][4] She founded the Jurnal Perempuan Foundation [id] in 1995, and the inaugural Jurnal Perempuan [id] (Women's Journal) was published the following year;[5] Krishna Sen of the University of Western Australia describes it as "Indonesia’s first journal of feminist theory".[6] The journal had limited funds for its publication and later social work, and in the eight years that Arivia served as the journal's director, she did not receive a salary.[4] She remains on the journal's board of editors.[5]

During the Asian Financial Crisis, Arivia – recognized as one of Jakarta's leading feminist scholars[6] – protested the rising price of milk. On 23 February 1998, she joined some twenty other women at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout to protest high prices in a protest organized by Jurnal Perempuan and supported by Suara Ibu Peduli ("Voice of Caring Mothers"), an organization coordinated by Arivia. The protesters prayed, sang, distributed flowers, and read a statement which called for greater women's participation in resolving the crisis. Arivia was arrested with two other women, the astronomer Karlina Leksono Supelli and the activist Wilasih Noviana. After receiving extensive public support, the three were released.[7][8]

In 2002, Arivia completed her doctorate studies at the University of Indonesia's philosophy department. Her dissertation, "Dekonstruksi Filsafat Barat, Menuju Filsafat Berperspektif Feminis" ("Deconstructing Western Philosophy, Moving Towards a Feminist Perspective Philosophy") was published the following year as Filsafat Berperspektif Feminis (Feminist Perspective Philosophy).[1][2]

In 2009, Arivia published a poetry collection titled Yang Sakral dan yang Sekuler (The Sacred and the Profane). This collection, published a year after the controversial Pornography and Pornoaction law was passed, has been read as condemnation of the Indonesian state's continued power over women's bodies and sexuality.[9]

Arivia teaches contemporary philosophy and feminist theory at the Faculty of Knowledge and Culture of the University of Indonesia. She is married to Richard Pollard, with whom she has two children.[1]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Arivia, Gadis (2003). Filsafat Berperspektif Feminis [Feminist Perspective Philosophy] (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Jurnal Perempuan Foundation. ISBN 9789793520001.
  • Arivia, Gadis (2003). Menggalang Perubahan: Perlunya Perspektif Gender dalam Otonomi Daerah [Pushing for Change: The Need for Gender Perspectives in Regional Autonomy] (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Jurnal Perempuan Foundation. ISBN 9789793520001.
  • Arivia, Gadis (2006). Feminisme: Sebuah Kata Hati [Feminism: A Word from the Heart] (in Indonesian). Jakarta: Kompas. ISBN 9789797092443.
  • Adian, Donny Gahral; Arivia, Gadis (2009). Relations between Religions and Cultures in Southeast Asia. Washington, D.C.: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy. ISBN 9789797092443.


Works cited[edit]