Women’s emancipation in the Dutch East Indies

Door duisternis tot licht. Gedachten over en voor het Javaanshe volk. Collectie-IAV

'Door duisternis tot licht' (Through darkness to the light) is the story of Raden Adjeng Kartini (1879-1904). She was an aristocratic woman from Java in the former Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), who learned to speak Dutch well. This was rather unusual for Javan women in that time. This enabled her to correspond with Dutch women about women’s emancipation, the right to education, and establishing equality between the people of Indonesia and the Dutch colonial rulers.

Kartini opened a primary school that was the first to admit Javan girls. After her death during childbirth at the age of 25, her correspondence was published in 'Door duisternis tot licht' (Habis gelap terbitlah terang). The publication of this volume in 1912 was a source of great inspiration for Indonesian intellectuals and the Indonesian women’s movement.
 

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