Indonesien: Zohra Andi Baso

I want justice for women. I want them to be aware of their rights and be brave enough to stand up whenever these are violated."

— Zohra Andi Baso

Zohra Andi Baso (born 1952) is an activist working on empowering women to be aware of their rights so they can defend them. She began as a journalist and a consumer rights activist focusing on women. She has shifting focus onto dealing with violence against women, both in domestic and public spaces, social and political, through an organization she founded, the Forum for Women’s Issues in South Sulawesi, her home province. The endless work has kept her from finishing her dissertation for her doctorate degree.

Back in the "era of normalcy" – this is the cynical phrase to describe the 32 years of Suharto’s dictatorship when Indonesia seemed to enjoy what they now know to be superficial prosperity – Zohra Andi Baso could see the ugly face of consumerism and its effect on women. "Women are prone to be the victims. They are the ones who consume, and just looking at the advertising, they are also the ones to be manipulated." The partial information given about a product or a government program, and the state’s campaign on certain issues such as birth control contraceptives as part of the family planning program, often left women with very few options, if any. That was when Zohra Andi Baso was still a young, passionate student. This passion has driven her for the past 30 years. Even after the country entered a new era, the so-called Reformasi, that followed Suharto’s downfall in 1998, her passion has not waned. Inter-ethnic conflicts as some parts of the nation disintegrate and other violence in society are in Zohra’s agenda as she fights to empower women to stand up for their rights. A national figure, Zohra has authored several books, and is head of the Presidium of the National Women’s Coalition. "Homework is aplenty. The only thing that is different now (compared to Suharto’s era) is that we can discuss things that were once so difficult to discuss. We can have more dialogue, but violence against women keeps taking place both in the domestic and public domains."

South Sulawesi Consumer Association Forum for Women’s Issues in South Sulawesi