Here we go then.
This is probably Mary's most "political" engagement so far. There has been a number of comments in regards to this for the DRF pretty hot and politically-loaded subject: Gender equality and women's rights in other countries and other cultures. There is some agreement among the comments that it is a big pad on the shoulder for Mary by the Danish politicians, that they let her be the front-figure in a topic that enjoy wide support across the political spectrum. But also that she is genuinely walking a very narrow path, where she can easily make mistakes or cause controversy.
The politicians wouldn't allow her to go on such political trips and actually say something, if they didn't have confidence in her abilities to handle it well.
At the same time this is clearly a topic that Mary is deeply committed to.
- Apart from that, it gives her something deeply meaningful to do,rather than just cutting ribbons ad nauseam.
This docu starts by pointing out that Mary on this trip is facing political, religious and cultural obstacles.
Indonesia is pretty big as countries go! And what is not that often noticed: It's the largest Muslim country in the world.
2:30 - Upon arrival Mary is received by the very influential head of UNPF.
The purpose of the visit is to help women of Indonesia to gain the right to decide over their own bodies and when to get pregnant and have intercourse with and with whom. - All that in a country where the body and sex are taboo.
2:45 - Mary points out that there has been progress in that regard in Indonesia, but that there are strong forces pulling in the opposite direction. (I need not mention who, do I?)
It is also a problem educating young people to avoid unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases, because you can't talk about such subjects.
3:30 - Mary is talking at the International AIDS Day. More than half a million Indonesians have AIDS and each year more than 50.000 contract HIV. But it is still not a subject to be spoken about.
4:50 - The royal reporter and political analysts, from the Conservative newspaper Berlingske, explains what a difficult task Mary has embarked on. (He is always interesting to listen to.)
While Mary enjoys a full public and political backing in Denmark on this matter, that is far from the case elsewhere in the world.
And that means Mary is moving into a hot landing zone, so to speak!
800 women die daily in connection with giving birth or complications during their pregnancy.
Each day 33.000 girls under the age of eighteen are married.
More then 230 million women do not have access to modern prevention. - (And as such must resort to all sorts of ad hoc means. One of the more remarkable I have heard about is pouring Coca Cola into the vagina after intercourse!)
6:00 - Visiting a midwife-clinic in Jakarta.
There is a huge lack of midwives in Indonesia, with often fatal consequences form some women. In fact each hour two women in Indonesia die due to complications giving birth or during the pregnancy - or 48 a day.
Prevention is taboo and almost one in two women undergo female circumcision when they are very little.
A local midwife hope Mary's visit will help put focus on these issues.
7:00 - But why has Mary committed herself to women and girls rights?
It's a strong belief that if women and girls have equal opportunities we will get a better world. (Could not agree more!)
Basically it's about fairness. (for all).
It's not fair that a mother dies giving birth, when it can be prevented.
It's not fair that a girl is not given the chance to choose who she is to marry.
8:00 - Mary's development in taking on such heavy and very political issues, since she married Frederik.
12:00 - Mary has developed from a "fashion-princess" who had yet to find her footing, to finding heavy subject she is genuinely committed to today.
13:00 - Visiting a local cafe, where an experiment is taking place.
Here a mobile health clinic has been set up and here young people can seek advise about sex, health and prevention.
There are more than 2½ million unplanned pregnancies each year in Indonesia.
In many places prevention is only an option for married women, provided they have their husbands permission.
14:30 - The Minister for Development praise Mary and emphasize what difference it makes when a royal comes in to talk about such issues. As such there is a considerable interest in her. On top of that she is a very good diplomat.
A women tells about a local superstition. Women must wash their used tampons thoroughly otherwise they will be haunted by ghosts/evil spirits.
15:45 - Why is it so important to meet the ordinary people this is all about?
It's the personal stories that enable people to feel empathy and understand the situation some people are in.
To Mary understanding is the first step in starting an efficient effort.
17:00 - 25 years after the first genuine attempt on a global scale to improve women's rights, another attempt to restart the process took place at the international summit in Nairobi, where Mary where among the figures in front.
19:00 - It's no accident that UN use royals and celebs as front-figures. They simply get more attention.
But - being a celeb or a royal isn't enough in itself. It requires talent and a diplomatic touch.
20:30 - Have You become more skilled in Your work?
She has learned more. She has become better in handling the situations. She has much more her backpack, which she can pull out when meeting people.
20:45 - The largest Buddhist temple in the world.
21:00 - How long will she carry on doing this?
We MUST carry on. Because there is much work to do, before crossing the finishing line. We have come far, but there are still girls and women who don't enjoy human rights.
She is however very pleased with being at the stage where she is now and she is proud in helping in this field.
23:00 - Now she is meeting local religious leaders.
And here Mary's diplomatic skills are tested, because the religious leaders are very influential in regards to women's rights in Indonesia.
They start by witnessing a Muslim marriage.
As in other countries, religious leaders also serve as guiders for newly wedded couples.
24:00 - There are progressive powers who wish to improve women's rights, while at the same time there are religious and political powers who wish to go the other way. How does Mary navigate such water?
By having the human rights as the starting point. To establish a mutual dialogue based on mutual respect. But also trying to understand the opposite view, otherwise it is not possible to have a dialogue.
25:00 - The DRF members, also Mary, has to be careful about not becoming too political. Because by taking a political side, they divide. And as such lose their role as a rallying point.
Mary explains that she is often traveling with a minister and they each have a role. Mary is very conscious that she is not the one to address the political issues, that's for the minister.
Many men feel that prevention is emasculating it reduce their sense of manhood.
26:45 - When you meet people face to face and on the same level, it becomes possible to talk about sensitive subjects. Without turning it into a political issue.
27:40 - But those they meet on this visit are not a problem. They are the ones who are progressive. It's those who won't talk to the UN/DK delegation who is the problem, right?
True. But it makes so much more sense to be seen working with progressive elements. Simply in order to support them.
In 2020 Mary will have been working for UNPF for ten years, and there is no indication that this will stop, nor that her travels will be fewer.
That was a pretty good docu, eh?
And now a question for our Australian members.
Considering that Indonesia is a neighboring country, what is Australia's involvement in Indonesia in regards to human rights issues and development?
Or does the fact that the two countries are neighbors make it more difficult for Australia to influence things in Indonesia?