The first Congress of Indonesian Women Ulama (KUPI), held in Cirebon, 2017. Photo by KUPI.

In April 2017, Indonesian Muslim women did something quite revolutionary: they successfully held the first Congress of Indonesian Women Muslim Scholars (Kongres Ulama Perempuan Indonesia, KUPI). The inaugural congress of Muslim women scholars (or ulama), held in Cirebon, West Java, resulted in three fatwas on what attendees considered the biggest challenges faced by Muslim women: sexual violence, underage marriage and environmental destruction.

The congress was the result of collaboration among various women-led progressive Islamic organisations in Indonesia. They were united by the common goal of strengthening agency and taking charge over challenges faced by women at a time of cultural and political fragmentation in the country. Five years later, the second congress will take place in November, in Semarang and Jepara, Central Java, with the theme of “Affirming the Roles of Women Ulama in Creating a Just Islamic Civilisation”. One of the organisations involved is the Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) Indonesia.

What does the second congress aim to achieve? What are some of the biggest challenges faced by Muslim women leaders in Indonesia? In this episode of Talking Indonesia, Tito Ambyo speaks with the director of AMAN, Dwi Rubiyanti Kholifah (Ruby), about these issues and more.

In 2022, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Tito Ambyo, Dr Dave McRae from the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society at the University of Melbourne, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, and Dr Jacqui Baker from Murdoch University.

Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via Apple Podcasts or listen via your favourite podcasting app.

Links mentioned in the episode:


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