Siti Latifah Herawati Diah: Pioneering Indonesian Feminist and Politician

OV Digital Desk

Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Siti Latifah Herawati Diah (3 April 1917 – 30 September 2016) was an Indonesian journalist. She co-founded The Indonesian Observer, the first English-language newspaper in the country. As the only English publication in Indonesia for more than a decade, it captured the aspirations and hardships of a newly-independent nation for a global audience.

Life and Career

Siti Latifah Herawati Diah was born on 3 April 1917 in Tanjung Pandan, Indonesia. Herawati studied journalism at Barnard College in New York. After graduating she returned to Indonesia in 1942, shortly before the Indonesian National Revolution took hold, and became a reporter for the United Press International (UPI) newswire.

She married fellow journalist Burhanuddin Mohammad “BM” Diah, who later became the Minister of Information in 1968. Herawati used her diplomatic connections to protect Indonesian cultural monuments. She led the effort to declare the Borobudur Temple Compounds as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Herawati was also a strong advocate for women’s rights. She founded several women’s organizations, including the Women’s Voice Empowerment Movement, which mobilizes Indonesian women to vote. Diah died on 30 September 2016 at the age of 99 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Award and Legacy

Siti Latifah Herawati Diah contributed immensely to the development of Indonesian society. On 3 April 2022, Google celebrated Siti Latifah Herawati Diah’s 105th birthday with a doodle.