Rahayu, Ninik Sri (2020). Indonesian Women and Islamic Economy: A Case Study of Islamic Microfinance and Women's Empowerment in Yogyakarta. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

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Baitul Maal wat Tamwil (BMT), a model of Islamic microfinance institution (IMFI), has emerged in Indonesia in the last two decades. Although BMTs were not initially created for women, they have embraced women as their primary beneficiaries. The main objective of this study is to examine the link between BMTs and women's empowerment. More specifically, this study aims to address three main problems. First, to observe the origins of BMTs and their affiliation, it investigates their institutional missions and their ties with women's empowerment agendas. Second, it analyzes the particular patterns with which BMTs' empower women clients. Third, to investigate the effects of BMTs' services on women. Employing a qualitative approach, this study explores four BMTs operating in Yogyakarta Special Region, Indonesia. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, document review, and field observations. Participants included BMT managers, founders, and staffs, as well as women clients and experts. This study has three main findings. First, although the majority of BMTs in Yogyakarta predominantly deal with women, from a historical perspective, there is no indication that the BMT movement in this region is related to a women's empowerment agenda. Moreover, none of the BMT institutions in this research specify women in their goals, objectives, or operations. Targeting of women as primary beneficiaries is merely intended for financial sustainability and not gender concerns. BMTs consider women to be 'a rational economic segment', who can enhance the efficiency of programs and contribute to organizational sustainability. Observing the four selected BMTs, it is found that the service orientation and character of each BMT is significantly affected by its primary affiliation. BMTs that are allied with Islamic mass organization are inclined to accentuate Islamic symbols, while BMTs that work with the government and/or international donors use such symbols less regularly. Second, this thesis demonstrates that women's empowerment in BMTs follows various models, dealing with socio-economic, religious, and environmental issues. For socio-economic empowerment, BMTs employ individual and collective empowerment. Individual empowerment, called jemput bola, is widely used by BMTs as their main means of maintaining personal relationships and member loyalty, as well as to oppose the conventional banking sector. This scheme requires BMTs to arrange rigorous meetings between clients and BMT officers. Meanwhile, collective empowerment is generally facilitated through the creation of independent groups of women based on proximity of residency. BMTs also use religious activities as instruments to deliver their mission of da'wah, to attract new members, and to monitor members' business performance. Supported by its international NGO's partners, one BMT institution has pioneered ecological projects that are integrated at the strategic level into its organizational mission and goals. Third, according to clients, the effects of BMT projects on their family and personal lives are mostly positive. Respondents reported that access to BMTs' programs andservices have fostered socio-economic and psychological benefits for women.Economically, positive outcomes have emerged from increased income, savings,and ownership as a consequence of business growth. Meanwhile, access to credit has given women social advantages, such as increased social mobility. Involvement in BMT programs has expanded women's ability to travel to places outside the province. In addition, women's participation in BMT projects has also had positive psychological contributions. Most respondents reported having more self-esteem and dignity as a result of their economic growth. The involvement of women inBMTs' religious programs also improves their religious knowledge and practice.Nevertheless, this study also demonstrates that BMTs may have a negative effect on women; one of the most apparent harmful effects of women's engagement in BMTs is their continuing dependence on loans. The importance of this study lies in several points: 1) It contributes a new understanding of the intersection between microcredit, women’s empowerment, religious and cultural problems in a Muslim-majority society. 2) There has been lack of research into the connection between the Islamic microfinance movement and women's issues in a historical and political context; this study helps fill such gaps by expanding the interdisciplinary scope of Islamic microfinance in an Indonesian setting. 3). The findings of this study enrich discussions and debates on Islamic financing and women's empowerment. This work provides the insight that women's empowerment is a universal concept that is applicable to Muslim-majority societies. 4) There has been a dearth of qualitative study studies on BMTs in Indonesia; this study addresses this gap by undertaking a qualitative approach. Future researchers could extend the research findings and reflections of this research and continue discussion of how to develop and integrate the aspects of gender, Islamic values, and microfinance. While this study has investigated the effects of BMT programs on women's lives, particularly in a Javanese setting, future researchers could expand this to the broader location and include the perspectives of spouses and other family members.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
Translated title:
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-106392
Date: 5 February 2020
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Fächergruppe 4: Außereuropäische Sprachen, Kulturen und Gesellschaften > Orientalisches Seminar
Subjects: Social sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Islamic economyUNSPECIFIED
Islamic MicrofinanceUNSPECIFIED
Women's empowermentUNSPECIFIED
Date of oral exam: 9 January 2020
NameAcademic Title
Wieringa, Edwin P.Prof. Dr.
Graf, ArndtProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/10639


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