chapter  9
Women’s Agency in Transforming Religious Discourse: Gender-sensitive Interpretations of Islam in Indonesia
Pages 20

The purpose of this chapter is to present and analyse gender-sensitive interpretations of Islam in Indonesia and a reform of fiqh, jurisprudence, from a gender perspective. These interpretations can be seen as an expression of Islamic feminism, a discursive framework that has grown from the Islamization processes of Muslim societies in the 1980s. Another aim is to depict the specific Indonesian environment where these ideas have evolved. Firstly, the domestic feminist movement and the influence of international feminist scholars of Islam. Secondly, the liberal approach in Islamic thinking promoted by Nurcholish Madjid and Abdurrahman Wahid and especially their emphasis on the importance of context in the endeavour of ijtihad, independent reasoning or interpretation of the Islamic scriptures. Thirdly, the increase and reform of higher Islamic education and not least the high percentage of female students and scholars. In conclusion, there is the presentation and analysis of gender-sensitive interpretations of Islam by Indonesian scholars as part of an Islamic feminist discourse. The focus is on what these interpreters actually say and how they relate to traditions, both universal Islamic and local Indonesian, in order to legitimize their ideas, also on how their ideas are used and perceived in Indonesian society. These interpretations can be regarded as Indonesian conceptualizations of Islamic feminism or, to put it differently, interpretations of text in context. Most Indonesian publications are written in Indonesian and translations are made by the author.