Women, Islam and Modernity: Single Women, Sexuality and Reproductive Health in Contemporary Indonesia, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Women, Islam and Modernity

Single Women, Sexuality and Reproductive Health in Contemporary Indonesia, 1st Edition

By Linda Rae Bennett


206 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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In popular debates about reproductive and sexual rights, formal religions, especially Islam, are seen as barriers providing institutional and ideological resistance to women's realization of reproductive and social autonomy. This book challenges this simplified view of Islam. Based on original fieldwork in Eastern Indonesia, the book explores the complex factors that affect how young Indonesian women form their sexual subjectivities, discusses the cultural and historical conditions under which single Muslim women repress or express their sexuality, and examines how the cultural context, including other factors besides Islam, simultaneously influence the ways in which young single women approach courtship, and issues of sexuality and reproductive health. It demonstrates that Islam is neither alone in trying to control female sexuality, nor entirely successful in doing so.


'Women, Islam and Modernity offers rich pickings not only to feminist scholars of Islam, but to specialists in gender and development in South East Asia, and to those interested in debates about reproductive health and rights.' - Asian Affairs

'Highly recommended to students of Gender and Development, and also a useful background read for policymakers and practioners working on reproductive health in Indonesia and other Muslim countries.'- Asian Affairs

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Cultural Constructions of Sexuality and Gender 2. Maiden Bodies - Inscriptions of Femininity and Desire 3. Premarital Relationships and Contemporary Courtship Practices 4. Indigenous Sexual Scripts and Social Transition 5. Women's Health and Maiden Identities 6. Reproductive Rights for Single Women. Conclusion

About the Author

Linda Rae Bennett is a medical anthropologist and currently a VicHealth Public Health Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex Health and Society of La Trobe University. Her key research interests are reproductive/sexual health and human rights, among youth and different Muslim populations in Australia and Southeast Asia.

About the Series

ASAA Women in Asia Series

The primary aim of this important series is to publish original, high quality work on all aspects of women in Asia. Submissions are welcomed from prospective authors, both new and established scholars, working in any appropriate discipline, and should in the first instance be sent to the series editor. Email: [email protected]


Editorial Board:

Hyaeweol Choi (University of Iowa)

Melissa Crouch (University of New South Wales) 

Michele Ford (The University of Sydney)

Trude Jacobsen (Northern Illinois University)

Tanya Jakimow (University of New South Wales)

Lenore Lyons (Independent scholar)

Vera Mackie (University of Wollongong)

Anne McLaren (The University of Melbourne)

Mina Roces (University of New South Wales)

Dina Siddiqi (New York University)

Andrea Whittaker (The University of Queensland)

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Middle East / General
RELIGION / Islam / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies