Bali’s Wonder Women

Article by Nadia Wiharja & Wise Steps Travel, February 08th 2019




Globally speaking, the last 50 years where probably the most crucial and positive developments in the history for women rights and gender equality. Having said that, there is still work in progress, as no country in the world has achieved a hundred percent gender equality yet. Among the leading countries in the world, based on the Telegraph in November 2017, is Iceland (ranking first) and the Scandinavian Countries in northern Europe, surprisingly for some, within the Top 10 there are Ruanda and Nicaragua, whereas the UK only ranks 15th.  That gives food for thought.

Let’s spin the globe a bit further east to Indonesia, which is ranking better than China but worse than Australia. Surely, there are regions which might strongly differ from each other, but in general, women are being more and more present and accepted in leading positions of big companies or as own entrepreneurs.

Let’s take for instants Bali, the only island with a Hindu majority in Indonesia that welcomes many visitors and sometimes the change that comes with it.

Traditionally women in Bali hold important cultural responsibilities starting from making offerings for cultural ceremonies since their early years of childhood, social responsibilities within the community, to raising children and sometimes contributing economically to their households. Some of them even find time to create inspiring projects to help others or protect our beautiful planet.

These are our BALI’S WONDER WOMEN, that we think deserve some recognition in our article.

Here are 5 impressive women (out of many) in Bali who made great impacts and contributions.


  1. Robin Lim (

Well known as Mother Robin, founded “Bumi Sehat Foundation” in 1995 which offer free prenatal care, birthing service, and health care for everyone who needs it. She was awarded by CNN News as 2011 CNN Hero of the Year for her amazing work to help underserved women in Bali in birth service and healthy pregnancy, as well as her fight to decrease Indonesia’s maternal and infant mortality rates. The reality for many low-income families is, that they don’t have the option to just go to the hospital and deliver their baby as it is too expensive. Still too many families in rural Bali have no health insurance. That’s why Robin Lim and her team began to offer prenatal and birth service in their village for free. Bumi Sehat Foundation was first built in Bali and continuously spread its wings to help more and more people in Indonesia and abroad. In 2004, Robin Lim built two clinics in Aceh after the devastating tsunami and have been helping to facilitate the birth of more than 5000 babies. In 2006 when Yogyakarta was struck by earthquake again she was there to support. Apart from that she set up clinics in Padang-West Sumatra and Haiti.(

And yes, she is not Balinese but she deserves to be a Bali Wonder Women 😊


  1. Ni Komang Sariadi (

Ibu Sari has founded and built the Women’s Center, an educational center for women specialized in providing training and resources for Balinese women to cope with their life responsibilities and tasks. The Women’s Center is located in Payangan Village in Ubud and has been offering programs such as cooking classes, sewing classes, stress management course, self-esteem & care, public speaking classes, yoga & meditation classes, computer classes, English classes, and many more. The center is supported by Five Pillar Foundation with the aim to reverse the trend of urbanization and over-development of touristic areas in Bali, by educating local communities to develop unique activities in order to create alternative income for women. Through this Women’s Center, Ibu Sari does her best to support her fellow Balinese women and with great impacts she needs to be mentioned when talking about Bali’s Wonder Women.


  1. Gayatri Reksodihardjo-Lilley (

LINI which means “Connection” in English, was established in January 2008. LINI is one of the few Indonesian non-profits who work hard to support conservation and management of marine biodiversity by educating and empowering coastal communities to promote sustainable fishing in Indonesia. LINI works with various local stakeholders, including local government, individuals and communities.

Behind the impactful organization, there is one impressive woman that is a pioneer in marine conservation and sustainable fisheries, Ibu Gayatri. Through her passionate work and with a dedicated team, LINI has now developed and implemented several programs such as “Fisheries Improvement Project”, “Sustainable Ornamental Fisheries”, “Reef Restoration”, to explicitly tackle areas where cyanide fishing and dynamite fishing used to be common practice. In 2014 LINI started an incredible center in Les Village, North Bali called “The LINI Aquaculture and Training Center” that is also open for visitors. Take a look yourself at this phenomenal and much needed project.


  1. Ayu Gayatri (

‘Pengalaman Rasa’ or ‘The Experience of Flavors’ in English, is the name of the culinary enterprise of Ibu Ayu and her family. In a world of misleading marketing, mcdonaldization and junk food, they dedicated to bring people back to a mindful consumption with authentic herbs and healthy ingredients while preserving Northern Balinese cuisine and introducing it to the world. Ibu Ayu’s cooking skills have been handed down from previous generations, she cooked in her family’s kitchen starting from a young age and developed the passion for traditional cooking. Ibu Ayu and her family are strongly involved in culinary research and documentation but they also host international guests to enjoy the genuine dining experience in their house called Rumah Intaran (Neem House). Besides visitors can also join a Master Cooking Class to learn about and cook authentic food by using traditional kitchen tools and utensils. A great way of preserving a very essential part of the culture which is food, we are happy to present Ibu Ayu as one of Bali’s Wonder Women.


  1. Ayu Bulantrisna Djelantik (

Ibu Ayu was born in Deventer, Netherland in 1947 and she is a Balinese dance master that spent her childhood in Peliatan Village, Ubud. Her father was a Balinese Prince of the Karangasem Kingdom and as their community noticed Ibu Ayu’s talent to be a great dancer, he would summon a Balinese Dance Master to teach his daughter traditional dancing. While she studied medicine abroad she always was a dancer as well. Now she is back in Indonesia and became a lecturer in Faculty of Medicine at the University. In 2012, the Indonesian Museum of Records (MURI) declared her as the oldest living Legong Dancer. She founded a great workshop called “Bengkel Tari Ayu Bulan” and until today, she still actively performs traditional Legong Dance with her dance students across Indonesia and even outside of Indonesia. This dance workshop represents her efforts not only to preserve traditional Balinese dances for future generations but also for her soul because dancing heals and helps her to overcome many challenges in live. This passion for traditional dances and the sharing nature of it deserves to be mentioned in our list of Bali’s Wonder Women.


Well, there are many more inspiring and great women in Bali, the list is long and we apologize to not mention everyone in this article.

Should you be interested to meet some of these women in person, you can join our Woman’s Journey and share your experience with them while learning about their fascinating journey too.

Contact us at to get more information.

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