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FeminisThemis Academy 2024: A Cross-Sector Collaboration to Promote Social Justice for Deaf Women


Average read time: 5 minutes

Celebrating the birth of Pancasila, the FeminisThemis community launched “FeminisThemis Academy 2024”, an educational program on sexual violence and gender equality, especially in the deaf world, which is fully supported by the Indonesian National Commission on Disability and Unilever Indonesia.

Speakers in the discussion “Pancasila dan Keadilan Sosial Bagi Perempuan Tuli”

Marking the launch of the program, a discussion entitled “Pancasila dan Keadilan Sosial Bagi Perempuan Tuli” was held to encourage collaboration to raise public awareness of social justice issues for deaf women while supporting their right to sexual and reproductive health education.

The celebration of the birth of Pancasila is a reminder that all citizens have the human right to social justice, which includes equality, welfare, and protection. Unfortunately, this has not been fully realized for the public, especially for people with disabilities.

Dr. Dante Rigmalia, M.Pd., Chairperson of the Indonesian National Commission on Disabilities, opened the discussion via video: “We really appreciate this activity so that everyone can understand who people with disabilities are and what their rights are.”

“In addition to our efforts as a non-structural state institution that monitors, evaluates and advocates efforts to respect and protect the fulfillment of rights for persons with disabilities, of course we need to work together to fulfill their rights. The collaboration of all parties, including the private sector such as Unilever, to support FeminisThemis to organize activities that mainstream gender and disability issues, is very important.”

Regarding fulfilling the rights of persons with disabilities, Halili Hasan, Executive Director of the SETARA Institute, was present at the discussion and conveyed these facts: “The 2023 Human Rights Index Report shows that several variables, such as Civil Rights, including the right to justice, the right to security, and freedom of expression or opinion; and Social Rights, including the right to health and education, have decreased compared to the previous year.”

“This challenge is clearly felt by friends with disabilities; they often experience discrimination, injustice, and limitations in expression, as well as difficulties gaining access to information, education, health, and others.”

 Halili Hasan, Executive Director of the SETARA Institute

For example, gender discrimination is prevalent among women with disabilities. The National Commission on Women reported that in 2023, there were 105 cases of violence against women with disabilities, 33 of which were experienced by people with sensory disabilities including deaf women1. In addition, the SAPDA Foundation, through CATAHU Gender-Based Violence and Disability (GBVD) 2022, reported 81 GBVs throughout the year, in which deaf women made up the the majority of survivors, namely 31 cases, followed by people with mental disabilities, with as many as 22 cases2.

This condition encouraged Nissi Taruli Felicia and her friends to establish the FeminisThemis community in 2021 to create an inclusive and educative feminist community for deaf individuals so that they are able to fight injustice and fight for gender equality.

Nissi, a Co-Founder and Executive Director of FeminisThemis

As a deaf woman who actively provides advocacy and education on gender issues, Nissi, a Co-Founder and Executive Director of FeminisThemis, shared her views: “Some of the challenges that are still faced by deaf women friends include: the non-fulfillment of sign language rights so that they are limited in their communication/expression, access to information, services, and justice.”

“In addition, they also have limited knowledge and access to information, especially personal ones such as about body rights, and both sexual and reproductive health rights. Equally challenging is the tendency to blame victims, where many people still blame survivors when they report sexual violence, forcing other survivors to choose to remain silent.”

“FeminisThemis Academy” comes as an educational forum that aims to increase self-awareness literacy and gender equality to prevent sexual violence that often befalls deaf women. Held for the second time, this time the program received full support from Unilever Indonesia.

Kristy Nelwan, Head of Communication and Chair of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) Board Unilever Indonesia

Kristy Nelwan, Head of Communication and Chair of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (ED&I) Board Unilever Indonesia, explained: “Unilever Indonesia's collaboration with FeminisThemis is based on a shared mission to realize a more just, diverse and inclusive society. Moreover, the purpose of the 'FeminisThemis Academy' program is also very much in line with the three focuses of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion that we run, namely: (1) Gender Justice, (2) Justice for Persons with Disabilities and (3) Elimination of Discrimination and Stigma.”

“In terms of realizing justice and eliminating discrimination and stigma against people with disabilities, Unilever Indonesia has carried out a series of collaborations with various parties, one of which is the younger generation, such as the FeminisThemis community led by Nissi, who is one of the winners of the ‘Every U Does Good Heroes 2021’ program.”

“Previously, Nissi presented sign language classes for Unilever Indonesia employees and provided various inputs for the Company to continue to realize a more just, diverse and inclusive society. We are very excited to continue this collaboration and hope that this program can help our deaf women friends obtain the right to a safe, fair and equal life and gain adequate knowledge about sexual and reproductive health rights,” Kristy continued.

“FeminisThemis Academy 2024” will run from June until September in a hybrid manner, closing on International Sign Language Day, which is celebrated every September 23. The program consists of a series of activities, namely Training of Trainers for Deaf facilitators, offline workshops in three cities (Bandung, Malang, and Yogyakarta), and several webinars.

Rifka Dyah Safitri, Program Manager of FeminisThemis, explained: “During the offline workshop, we will present various materials such as: Introduction to Body Anatomy and Reproductive Organs; Introduction to Puberty; Basic Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights; The Importance of Consent and Body Limitation Rights; Risks in Digital Spaces related to Consent; and Psychology First Aid or PFA to help deaf women recover from the burden or trauma that they may feel.”

In the webinar, the material raised was: Safeguarding Personal Data in Digital Space; Myths in the Digital Realm related to Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights; Sanitation Quality in Women's Reproductive Health; Introduction to the Concept of Consent, Recognizing Victim Blaming and its Impact, and others.”

It is hoped that the “FeminisThemis Academy 2024” program will produce more deaf facilitators who are able to facilitate sexual and reproductive health rights in the deaf community, benefit at least 300 deaf friends, and reach 10,000 people on social media to increase understanding of sexual violence issues and sexual and reproductive health education in the deaf community.

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