Ashoka Fellow
Bonang, Indonesia
Fellow Since 2013


This profile was prepared when Masnu'ah was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2013.
The New Idea
Masnu’ah works to challenge the patriarchal culture of the fishing community in a positive, inclusive way through her cooperative Puspita Bahari. By involving both women and men in her approach and focusing on income-generating activities, she has been able to find a socially acceptable method to solve the issue of gender inequality. Typically, women in the fishing community are isolated and face issues of domestic abuse and economic inequalities. According to the World Economic Forum, as of 2011, Indonesia ranked 101 out of 135 countries when rated on economic participation and opportunity in terms of gender equality.

Masnu’ah understands that men and women need to work together to solve the most pressing issues facing women in Indonesia. By engaging men on a variety of levels within Puspita Bahari, she gains community acceptance and begins to change men’s attitudes toward women. By placing emphasis on economic activities through her fish processing workshops, husbands and male community leaders see the value Puspita Bahari offers the fishing society and encourage their wives and female family members to attend.

By using her economic approach, Masnu’ah is changing this culture. Within Puspita Bahari, Masnu’ah teaches women about gender equality and their legal rights in the face of domestic violence. As civil society has not worked extensively in this field, Masnu’ah has legitimated womens’ legal status as fisherfolk. With her success at the regional level, Masnu’ah continues to advocate for national policy change on the legal term for "fishermen" through the Ministry of Marine and Coastal Development.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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