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Islam, Parties, and Women's Political Nomination in Indonesia

  • Ella S. Prihatini (a1)

Abstract

This article responds to earlier research on the role of Islam as a barrier to women's political nominations by assessing and comparing parties’ efforts to meet institutionally required gender quotas in Indonesia. With the provision of 30% candidate gender quotas implemented since the 2004 elections, how have parties responded? Do Islamist and pluralist parties differ systematically in this regard? More specifically, does religious ideology influence how parties go about meeting quotas, recruiting female candidates, and getting them elected? Or do all parties face the same challenges when it comes to getting women into parliament? Drawing on a unique dataset collected from 2004 to 2019 legislative elections and in-depth interviews with central party officers, faction leaders, and members of parliament, this article investigates these questions. The results indicate that Islamic ideology plays no obvious role in limiting female participation in legislative elections; Islamist and pluralist parties are equally good at achieving the percentage quotas of female nominees. Both groups are also similarly poor at putting female candidates first on the party lists. Indonesia's open-list proportional representation (PR) system is prohibitively expensive, and this hurts women candidates more than it does male candidates because women generally have less access to the capital necessary to purchase the top position on party lists.

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I am grateful to the two anonymous reviewers and the editors of Politics & Gender for valuable comments. I wish to thank all respondents participated in this study. I'd also like to thank Faiz Faiqoh and Gail Harper for their excellent research assistance, and Malikus S Widyatama for his constructive suggestions.

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