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Abstract

This research aims to understand how the Perempuan Berkisah community group empowers women during the pandemic in Indonesia and how to critically interpret the phenomenon of women’s empowerment. The research employed a content analysis method investigating Perempuan Berkisah’s Instagram account and interviewing and distributing a questionnaire to the community’s founder, committees, and general members. This study analyzed the kinds of empowerment narratives offered, identified the dynamic narratives on the Instagram account since its first establishment in 2019, and critically read the results of Instagram feed content analysis and interviews about women’s empowerment. This research revealed three elements to build a women’s empowerment narrative: feminist knowledge, selfhood and sisterhood, and a safe space. The concept of empowerment offered is empowerment focusing on efforts to help, strengthen, and support other women instead of empowering alone and leaving other women behind. This research also analyzed missing or absent elements in women’s empowerment narratives of Perempuan Berkisah’s Instagram account. The findings discovered insufficient narratives of men, formal structure statements, and dialogues with groups with different points of view. This insufficiency interprets the internalization of neoliberal values emphasizing individual responsibility to accelerate or develop oneself as an individual or part of a community; consequently, it neglects the state responsibility to create gender equality in society. This research contributes to a study on online feminist activism, women’s community, and women and the pandemic, especially in Indonesia.

Note on the Author

Rouli Esther Pasaribu is a lecturer at the Department of Literary Studies/Japanese Studies Program, Faculty of Humanities, Universitas Indonesia. She received her doctoral degree from Osaka University, Japan, majoring in Japanese Women’s Literature and Gender Studies. Her research and publications include female self-expression in Japanese and Indonesian women literature, representation of women character in Japanese popular culture, and digital feminist activism in Indonesia. Email address: rouliesther@ui.ac.id.

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