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How Women Lead: A podcast series by Magdalene Indonesia

News Stories /20 January 2021

Those interested in a feminist perspective on leadership may tune in to Magdalene Indonesia’s podcast, How Women Lead, a series of conversations that explore how women leaders are breaking boundaries, debunking stereotypes, and exceeding expectations. The podcast series is recorded in the local language (Bahasa Indonesia). It is co-hosted by Devi Asmarani and Hera Diani, co-founders of Indonesia’s feminist web publication Magdalene, one of the partners of Investing in Women in influencing gender norms.


Launched on 27 August 2020, How Women Lead seeks to highlight not only the successes but also the challenges women face in taking on leadership roles in a patriarchal environment. By focusing on “how” women leaders in Indonesia tackle the demands of their profession, How Women Lead challenges the perception that women are better in support roles and men are better in leadership. The featured guests effectively serve as role models to a primary audience of urban millennial listeners; their insights counter the misconception that women should adhere to leadership traits traditionally associated with men to become successful leaders.

How Women Lead has 12 episodes, averaging 20-30 minutes each, available on Spotify. Collectively, they cover hot topics such as resistance to traditional patriarchal values and the implicit biases against women (e.g., women are “too emotional” to lead); barriers to women in male-dominated politics as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); how to level the playing field with family-friendly and gender-inclusive company policies; and female strength and management styles in times of crisis (i.e., Asian financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic).

Some highlights from the podcast series include:

  • Episode 1: “Giliran Perempuan Memimpin”
    (English translation: “Turn for Women to Lead”)
    The pilot episode sets the tone for the podcast series by establishing the need for conversation about women’s leadership in the workplace. Guest Maya Juwita, Executive Director of Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE), discusses how gender norms manifest in the workplace, often to limit the participation of women.
  • Episode 7: “Adaptable and Flexible”
    The Indonesian garment manufacturing sector, which employs many women, was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic. Guest Anne Patricia Sucipto, Vice CEO of PT Pan Brothers Tbk., an IBWE member firm, discusses how her company pivoted to survive its impacts. The episode emphasises the importance of adaptability and flexibility in responding to a crisis.
  • Episode 8: “Plan for the Future”
    Guest Nyai Masriyah Amva speaks of how, after her husband died, she took over the leadership of one of the largest Islamic schools in West Java—particularly how patience, diligence, and empathy allowed her to steer the pesantren towards a more progressive direction.

Magdalene, a bilingual web magazine advocating women’s rights and gender equality, provides alternative perspectives on sensitive—often taboo—subjects not covered by mainstream media. It was established in September 2013 by three female journalists. Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief Devi Asmarani received the SK Trimurti Award from the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in 2018, for her efforts in raising awareness about gender equality.

For more details on the podcast series, visit

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