About Puan Samudra (The Ocean's Women Guardians)
Nova Ruth, as co-founder of the female sailor's network The Women of the Seven Seas, calls for other women of the sea to discuss why it's important to open the door for women to sail in our archipelago's waters.
The word "samudra" (ocean) comes from a woman called Lopamudra, the wife of an Indian sage named Rsi Agastya. On a Balinese lontar scroll, it is said that Rsi Agastya took Lopamudra to Jawadwipa to parlay with the sea-God Baruna. After that, her name was no longer mentioned in the lore of Rsi Agastya's travels in the archipelago.
A similar pause in history also happened to real-life figures such as the Admiral Malahayati, a female admiral and freedom fighter who are barely celebrated in mainstream Indonesian life. Her stories stopped echoing in history, and no more stories are heard of women accessing the seas.
For the past few years in Indonesia, women have been engaging more and more with the sea. But this is still far from being the norm -- either due to lackluster seafaring infrastructures, difficult access to sailing, or non-negotiable cultural rules. Meanwhile, the seas are decaying and need new ideas and new hands to care for it, too.