Women are strong, especially a mother. I believe that these words are true. Women can carry extra weight during pregnancy and can handle the pain of baby delivery. Research even shows that women can tolerate pain better than men. They can raise their children, while being a partner to their husband and support the family. Most of the women are also conditioned to be able to do all those duties and still tackle all housework for the house and family. Hence there is a proverb that says “behind every successful man, there is a great women.” The roles of Mama or women in Papua is important, not only to the family life, but also to the local economy.
The influence of women in Papua is important for the growth of local development in Papua. They are the ones who cook food for their family every day and still have to do a back breaking work in the field. They have to feed the livestock and harvest the crops when it’s ready to be harvested. After that, they will also have to be smart enough to distribute the crops for their own family and to be sold in the market themselves. Women in Papua is a pivotal figure in the lives of the Papuan people. They are the core of the everyday lives in Papua, whether in family life or economic activities.
The documentary movie of Tanah Mama, created by Project Change and directed by Asrida Elisabeth, documented the lives of mothers and women in Papua. This film clearly shows how strong the Papuan women are when they are dealing with their hardships and the challenges of social life. Tanah Mama shows us a peek in the life of Mama Halosina, how she lives her life, about her husband who marries another women, how she sells parsnips and vegetables to support her family of four children and pay her debt. Her life is filled with struggles and her strong will to live.
Women in Papua are hard-workers that can endure hardships beyond the comprehension of many people. Even in their daily lives, they have to deal with many challenges, and bear great responsibilities to support their family. It is only fair that their roles and significance are acknowledged.
It is no surprise that the role of current Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection in the Working Cabinet of 2014-2019 falls to Yohana Yembise, a strong Papuan women. She is a living proof of what a Papuan women is capable of. She is not only the first Papuan female Minister, but also the first Papuan women who got awarded as the Distinguished Professor by the Minister of Education and Culture. Moreover, she also served as a rector in Cendrawasih University (Uncen), which is the most prestigious University in Papua, once in 2012. Currently, as a Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, she is the top leading figures for the child friendly environment and the fight for violence against women and children.