Jakarta — Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said Kartini – an Indonesian national heroine whose birthday is commemorated as Kartini Day on April 21 – has inspired generations of Indonesian women through her writing. Born into an aristocratic Javanese family in Rembang, Central Java, in what was then the Dutch East Indies, Kartini attended a Dutch-language elementary school but despite repeated protests was denied the opportunity to further her education. At the age of 24 Kartini was married off to the district head of Rembang, Central Java, who let open a school for girls in 1903. A year later, Kartini died after giving birth to her first and only son. Kartini wrote many letters explaining her predicament to her pen pals in the Netherlands, which were published in a Dutch magazine and later in anthologies. There have been several collections of Kartini’s letters, the most notable being “Out of Darkness into the Light”, “Women’s Life in the Village” and “Letters of a Javanese Little Princess.” She is now widely recognized as one of the pioneers of women empowerment in Indonesia. “She was very creative. She showed through her letters that she had strong points of view which combined the knowledge she learned from her Dutch education with local wisdom, Susi said during an interview on Friday (21/04). The minister said she has always looked up to Kartini as an inspiration. “I learn from her that women are equal to men. I can do anything a man can do,” Susi said. She said Indonesia needs more inspiring women like Kartini. “Women are great with planning and organizing. There should be more of us in prominent positions,” Susi said. Susi said Indonesian women should break away from restrictions placed on them by traditional values.