Politicizing Piety: Women’s Rights and Roles in the Tarbiyah Movement in Indonesia

Explorations in Women, Rights, and Religions - Morny Joy

Diah Ariani Arimbi [+-]
Airlangga University, Surabaya, Indonesia
Diah Ariani Arimbi is Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the Faculty of Humanities, Airlangga University in Surabaya, Indonesia. She received her Ph.D from The University of New South Wales, Australia in 2006. Her interests include Islamic feminisms, Indonesian women in post-colonial Indonesia with current research focusing on the portrayal of women in popular culture. The focus of this Chapter is women in the Indonesian Tarbiyah movement. Her publications include Reading Contemporary Indonesian Muslim Women Writers (2009), translated into Indonesian in 2018, and Tradition Redirecting the Present: A Survey of Modern Indonesian Cultural Productions (2017).


The Tarbiyah (education) movement in Indonesia today is the best known and has the largest number of members amongst groups in the Dakwah (proselytising) movements that mostly work in Indonesian campuses. Using the notion of Islamic feminism, this study aims to explore the numerous varieties of women’s activities in this movement, especially in relation to the ways women see their rights and roles within their notion of piety. Female and male activists of the Tarbiyah movement in six state universities in East Java were interviewed to obtain data. Participant observations and in-depth interviews were used as approaches for data collection. This was undertaken from April 2015 to September 2016. One important finding indicates that the Tarbiyah members acknowledge that male and female are segregated in nature (biological construction). At the same time, however, they subscribe to concepts of women’s rights and equality while maintaining a form of sexual segregation.

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Arimbi, Diah. Politicizing Piety: Women’s Rights and Roles in the Tarbiyah Movement in Indonesia. Explorations in Women, Rights, and Religions. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Jan 2020. ISBN 9781781798393. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=38851. Date accessed: 09 Dec 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38851. Jan 2020

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