Google Doodle honours the 169th birthday of Sundanese author and scholar Raden Ayu Lasminingrat, who paved the way for future generations of Indonesian women. She was born in Garut, Indonesia, on this day in 1854 to Raden Ayu Ria and Raden Haji Muhamad Musa, a pioneer of Sundanese printed literature and scholar.
Lasminingrat had to be separated from her family in order to pursue her education in Sumedang; she was entrusted in the care of Levyson Norman, a friend of her father’s. With his assistance, she became the first Indonesian woman of her time to read and write Dutch fluently, enabling her to dream of advancing gender equality for all Indonesian women.
Lasminingrat utilised her literacy skills to translate European fairy tales into Sundanese, and in 1879, under the guidance of her father, she began educating Indonesian children. She read aloud adapted books and taught fundamental moral education and psychology, thereby educating and exposing native Indonesian children to international cultures. She continued to translate books into Sundanese, including the first and second volumes of Warnasari, which were extensively acclaimed in Indonesia.
In 1907, Lasminingrat established the Sekolaha Keutamaan Istri, a school that promoted women’s empowerment, reading, and writing. The school expanded to 200 students and five classes, and in 1911, the Dutch East Indies government recognised it. Over time, the school expanded to other communities, including Wetan Garut, Cikajang, and Bayongbong.
We thank Lasminingrat for devoting her life to empowering Indonesian women and for being a pioneer in women’s education.