Her story: Ni Wayan Pasek Ariati

March 11th, 2022   |   Indonesia, SIT Study Abroad, Women's History Month

During Women's History Month, SIT spotlights some of our extraordinary faculty, staff, and alumni across the globe who are making history today through their thinking, their words, and their actions.

Ni Wayan Pasek Ariati (Bu Ary)
Academic Director
SIT Indonesia: Arts, Religion, and Social Change

If you could chat with any woman in history, who would it be and what would you ask her?

Helen Keller (1880-1968), an American author and activist who inspired many with disabilities to gain high achievements. Although she lost her sight when she was only 18 months, it didn’t stop her from being famous and legendary in this world. The most important quotes that fit into our program are, “Life is either daring adventure or nothing at all.” And, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence”

My questions to Helen Keller would be: What motivated you to overcome your handicap to gain high achievements in your life? How did you overcome all those obstacles? What was your advice for people with disabilities to face this life?

Also, Raden Adjeng Kartini (1879-1904), an Indonesian heroine who fought for equal right for girls and women in higher education. She was born during the Dutch colonial period in Indonesia. Her famous book, “Habis Gelap, Terbitlah Terang,” (“After the Darkness, comes the Light”) is a collection of her letters to her pen pal, Ms. Abendanon.

My questions to her would be: What was the main motivation for you to advocate equal rights in education for girls/women? What’s your advice to Indonesian’s people in treating their daughters?

What do you consider to be a significant step toward gender equity?

Appointing a native Indonesian woman in a leading role as the academic director for the program. By having a native woman as academic director, we can show people that our institution is inclusive and appreciates diversity in giving the opportunities to the minority under presented people.

What are some of the greatest challenges to gender equity in your country?

Changing the public mind-set that only men or western people can do a better job at the same field, and convincing communities that women can also do great jobs as the men can do.

What lived experience has had the biggest impact on your career (or your life)?

Doing my doctorate degree on comparing one of the Hindu deities, the Goddess Durga as a warrior goddess. Having a doctorate degree on my ID card has changed people's views about me and women in general -- especially when I inform people that I received a scholarship to do my higher education and my doctorate degree.

What advice would you offer a young woman looking to enter your field?

Try to be strong in facing this life. Pursue your education as high as possible so that you can explore the world by sharing your knowledge. Find scholarships to get your doctorate degree and get work experience as much as possible. Dedicate yourself to your work and try to enjoy whatever you do, no matter how hard it is.

What are your main goals as an educator?

My main goals as an educator are to inspire young people to be resilient, tolerant, respectful toward differences and appreciative of the beauty of diversity. I also would like to produce young people with various skills, not only through formal education but also from their life experiences.