Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Daughter in the Indonesian Muhammadiyah: Nasyiatul Aisyiyah Negotiates a New Status and Image

Siti Syamsiyatun 1

1 State Islamic University Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta


This study discusses the experience of Nasyiatul Aisyiyah, the young women's organization within the modernist Indonesian Islamic organisation Muhammadiyah. Originally a section of Aisyiyah, the women's wing of Muhammadiyah, Nasyiatul Aisyiyah called for autonomous status and, eventually, secured it in 1965. The paper explains this struggle, the development of gender ideology as an alternative discourse, and the controversy this generated among the Muhammadiyah family organizations.

The autonomous Nayiatul Aisyiyah, while still respecting the traditional wife and mother, has visualized an ideal of young womanhood that aims to realize the full potential and full scope of women's rights and duties. In seeking to implement this ideal, the organization's members strive, beyond the conservative boundaries of Indonesian Muslim womanhood, to be faithful, knowledgeable, open-minded, just, wise, and disciplined. Inevitably, Nasyiatul Aisyiyah has encountered resistance and difficulties, notably when the gender perspective it adopted to evaluate its programmes and develop its vision of young womanhood, met with the disapproval of its paternal and maternal organisations, Muhammdiyah and Aisyiyah. However, instead of taking a confrontational position to advance its cause within the Muhammadiyah family, as many women's NGOs did, Nasyiatul Aisyiyah established more intensive communication with the Aisyiyah and Muhammadiyah elite and invited them to discuss gender and Islam in Nasyiatul Aisyiyah's circles. The paper highlights the success of this approach and the contribution Nasyiatul Aisyiyah has made to the enlargement of the role of women within the Muhammadiyah movement.

Citation: Syamsiyatun, Siti. 2007. "A Daughter in the Indonesian Muhammadiyah: Nasyiatul Aisyiyah Negotiates a New Status and Image". Journal of Islamic Studies. 18 (1): 69-94.

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