The following essay is the winning entry of AIYA Yogyakarta’s recent Hari Kartini Essay Writing Competition. In commemoration of Kartini’s continuing legacy, the AIYA Yogyakarta team invited its members to write an English-language essay on a successful woman who has made a major contribution to her field. They received many impressive and well-written entries, but there was one that stood out from the rest. Read Riza Suryandari’s winning original entry below.

SAKA UGM performers at the Kartini Essay Competition Event. Photo: Wisma Bahasa

SAKA UGM performers at the Hari Kartini Essay Competition Event. Photo: Wisma Bahasa

There are many influential women in this world; Marie Curie, Margaret Thatcher, Mother Theresa, Maya Angelou, Malala Yousafzai, and many others—don’t worry, not all of them start with an M. Anyway, by making a major contribution in their fields, they have a made a world a better place. Many people have written about those incredibly influential women for so many times, for so many years. They are on TV, on the radio, newspapers, everywhere. But let me tell you something: there are many other women out there who have a major contribution in their fields but never got the media’s attention. Since everyone is so caught up with well-known women, allow me to write about one that is so often forgotten.

The woman I am writing about has many professions. She is a doctor; she knows what to do when you are sick. She is an advisor and a counsellor; she always listens to you without judging you and gives you the best advice you can possibly get. She is an entertainer; she always finds ways to make you laugh when you don’t think you can. Not only that, but she is also a great cook. But you also need to be careful when you are with her because she is a mind reader; she knows what you have in mind. Did I mention she is a great teacher? And the list goes on. I could write a book out of it.

Surprisingly, she does not get paid for doing all those works! Not financially, anyway. Instead, she is the one who is spending all her money on you. Her job revolves around you. And her working hour is non-stop. Literally 24/7. She cannot quit her job. She will keep working until the day she dies.

That just sucks, doesn’t it? Everyone wants—and needs—a break. If you think this woman is the unluckiest person in the world because she does not get paid and does not get some time off work, you are wrong. She doesn’t think of it as a burden. With every single day, she feels lucky and blessed for doing what she is doing.

Sadly, like I said in the beginning, she is so often forgotten and not recognized. It’s not like she really wants public recognition. I just think it is so sad and unfair that such a noble woman is not so often mentioned and talked about, in a great way, like many other great women in history.

Who is this noble woman, really? People call her “Mother”—yes, coincidentally, it starts with an M. I know this is not a Mother’s Day essay competition, but if you ask me about the greatest woman who has made a major contribution in her field, then mother is the one I can think of. And it goes to mothers all around the world, great ones. Parenting is a field. It’s a career. And let’s face it, it is the toughest career ever.

Great mothers make the best people on this planet. We don’t have to win a Nobel Prize or be a president or have a high achievement in school or whatever to be one of those best people. What great mothers really want is for their children to be morally responsible and emotionally mature. High achieving children is just a bonus.

I just want to take this chance to remind us of how amazing our mothers are and that they deserve the greatest honor from us all. They deserve to be rewarded just like song-writers do. Most people recognize a great song by its singer and don’t even care about the song writer when actually, the song writer plays a huge role in making it great. So if you think of a woman so greatly, take a moment to think about how even more amazing her mother is to have raised such a great daughter.