My perspective might be cliché. To me, women empowerment can be defined as equipping women with the rights they deserve —and one of them is to make decisions for themselves and/or for the society.
Before I jump in to my story, let me start off with this quote:
“It’s not about how many times you get rejected or fall down or are beaten up, it’s about how many times you stand up and are brave and you keep on going.”– Lady Gaga
As a woman, I used to dream to have a career in a male-dominated industry. I was so obsessed to become a lawyer. I graduated with pristine achievements, contributed so much for my university organization, and also did some volunteer works too. From one law firm to another, I had sporadically sent my Resume to approximately 45 law firms, and only interviewed by 10. All of them rejected me. I wasn’t sure why because I thought I had managed to do all the required tests very well. Up until one day, an interviewer — who was very straightforward — asked me, “Do you think you will not be degraded if the Judges listen to your defenses?”. Moreover, since I am a triple-minority, he continued, “So you are not a pure Indonesian? Are you fluent in Bahasa Indonesia? We don’t need other languages here.” I still remember clearly, that day I also got an email confirming that another law firm, where I put all my hopes into (because it’s woman-owned law firm), couldn’t offer me a position. Instead, the position was given to a man. I was broken and frustrated. It was about 11 months since I graduated, and I hadn’t got a job I dreamt of. But, what happened was, I didn’t let myself weep for too long. The next day, I woke up, fixed my resume, then tried to contact some friends and asked whether they got any vacancy information. I prayed so hard and kept on searching non-stop. Weeks later, I got a call for an interview, and in 2 days, I finally landed my first lawyer job.
After 13 months of waiting, I was so delighted that I never let myself yielded even for a second of my life. I know that I will face many challenges, but I do hope that what I did can be revolutionary to encourage the younger generations, specifically young girls, that women can also have career in any kind of industry, and do great works for the society. It is agonizing by the truth, even in this modern era, that we still have to face issues like this; women come second to men, and minority is being belittled. I had a friend asked me once, “What’s the deal of becoming a lawyer to you?” For me personally, it is in my core belief that what I am working on is not only for my own sake, but also to convince everyone that in the future, there will be no female leaders. There will be just leaders. We can’t mark off what position is suitable specifically for any gender, be it male or female. What I do hope, we will embark a future that understand that gender is not a barrier to your dreams. I’m still working on to find my purpose in life, or what I aspire to be. One thing for sure, I will always perceive myself as someone who is empowered by lifting other. By now, I know that I am not at that level yet. But, mark my words: I believe I will.
Most of the successful people that I know get to where they are right now and achieve things by surrounding themselves with people who believe in them and support them. Always remember this: never get beaten up easily by negative words. Instead, you can take it as a constructive criticism, and use it to evaluate the great things that you are currently working on. Don’t let others define you, because you are your own self. Lastly, if I was given a chance to meet my ambitious-18-year-old self, I would tell her that she didn’t have to worry about her future. “You worked hard, and God had always prepared you the best places, even more than what you’ve prayed for. Just work on your dreams, and be kind to everyone. Show them that being a woman is fantastic!”