Patriarchy Canonization: Comparing Women's Political Participation in Matrilineal and Patrilineal Orders in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Erond Litno Damanik(1),

(1) Universitas Negeri Medan


The purpose of this study is to describe a recent comparison of women's political participation based on empirical evidence on the matrilineal and patrilineal orders in West and North Sumatra, respectively. This study was motivated by the low involvement of women in politics in the 2014 and 2019 general elections. The study offers specific insights into kinship order as political allegiance. This is a qualitative research carried out using a pragmatic methodological approach with academic discussions directed at the relationship between kinship and political participation. The results showed that the canonization of Islamic patriarchy in the matrilineal order impacts involution and exclusive women in the domestic arena. Meanwhile, the canonization of Christian patriarchy in the patrilineal order impacts devolution and inclusive women in politics. Therefore, based on this empirical evidence, it is concluded that the kinship system is not a relevant political allegiance.


Canonization; Patriarchy; Participation; Matrilineal; Patrilineal.

Full Text:



Aspinall, E. & Mietzner, M. (2019). Southeast Asia’s troubling elections: Nondemocratic pluralism in Indonesia. Journal of Democracy, 30(4), 104-118.

Baiduri, R. (2013). Bukan sekedar untuk uang: Makna kerja perempuan pedagang Batak Toba (Inang-inang) di Kota Medan. PhD Thesis, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia.

Ballington, J, & Karam, A. (2005). Woman in parliament: Beyond numbers. Stockholm: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.

Benda-Beckmann, F., & Benda-Beckman, K. (2006). Changing one is changing all: Dynamics in the Adat-Islam-State Triangle. The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law, 38(53-54), 239-270.

Blackburn, S. (2009). Woman and the state in modern Indonesia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Blackwood, E. (2000). Webs of power: Women, kin, and community in a Sumatran Village. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Blackwood, E. (2001). Representing women: the politics of Minangkabau Adat writings. The Journal of Asian Studies, 60(1), 125-149.

Bylesjoe, C. & Seda, F. (2006). Indonesia: The struggle for gender quotas in the world’s largest Muslim Society. In D. Dahlerup (ed.). Women, quotas and politics (pp. 259-265). New York: Routledge.

CGA. (2006). Indonesia: Country gender assessment. Manila: Southeast Asia Regional Department, Regional and Sustainable Development Department, and Asian Development Bank.

Creswell, J.W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Croissant, A. & Lorenz, P. (2018). Comparative politics of Southeast Asia: An introduction to governments and political regimes. Switzerland AG: Springer.

Croissant, A. & Lorenz, P. (eds.). (2018). Indonesia: Challenges of conflict and consensus in the Era of Reformasi. In Comparative politics of Southeast Asia: An introduction to governments and political regimes (pp. 71-111).. Switzerland AG: Springer,

Damanik, E.L. (2021). Dispute resolution: Pentagonal relationships in the Simalungun ethnic group. Asia-Pacific Social Sciences Review, 21(1), 211-223

Damanik, E.L. (2020a). Identity-based administrative involution in Indonesia: How political actors and community figures do it? SAGE Open, 10(4), 1-13

Damanik, E.L. (2020b). The desire of power: Candidate ambiguity and incumbent monopoly in local leaders’ election. Masyarakat, Kebudayaan dan Politik, 33(3), 286-298.

Damanik, E.L. (2020c). Ethnicity situation and intolerant attitudes in multicultural societies in the Medan City. Humaniora, 32(1), 39-50.

Damanik, E.L. (2020d). Menegakkan kekerabatan: Struktur lima saodoran pada upacara perkawinan etnik Simalungun. Walasuji, 11(1), 1-28.

Damanik, E.L. & Ndona, Y. (2020). Revelation is a symbol: Anti-radicalism of pluri-religious communities according to Jaspers in the context of Indonesia. International Journal of Criminology and Sociology, 9, 587-603. 10.6000/1929-4409.2020.09.57

Denzin, N.K. & Lincoln, I. (2005). The Sage Handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Dow, B.J. & Wood, J.T. (2009). The Sage Handbook of gender and communication. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Egreteau, R. (2019). Towards legislative institutionalisation? Emerging patterns of routinisation in Myanmar’s Parliament. Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 38(3), 265-285.

Elise, W.S. (2008). Chancellor Angela Merkel-A sign in hope or the exception that proves the rule. Politics & Gender, 4(3), 485-496.

Fatimah, S. (2012). Gender dalam komunitas masyarakat Minangkabau; Teori, praktek dan ruang lingkup kajian. Kaafah: Journal of Gender Studies, 2(1), 11-24.

Fossati, D. (2019). The resurgence of ideology in Indonesia: Political Islam, Aliran and political behaviour. Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 38(2), 119-148.

Gamble, S. (2006). The Routledge companion to feminism and postfeminism. London: Routledge.

Greene, J.C. & Hall, J.N. (2010). Dialectics and pragmatism: Being of consequence. In Tashakkori A and Teddlie C (eds). SAGE Handbook of mixed methods in social and behavioral research (pp. 119-143). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications,

Halimah. (2020). Telephone communication. September 23.

Heffner, R.W. (2020). Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Indonesia. London: Routledge.

Henley, H. & Davidson, J.S. (2008). In the name of Adat: Regional perspectives on reform, tradition, and democracy in Indonesia. Modern Asian Studies, 42(4), 815-852.

Hill, L. (2003). The political gender gap: Australia, Britain and the United States. Policy and Society, 22(1), 69-96.

Howell, J. (2006). Women’s political participation in China: in whose interest elections? Journal of Contemporary China, 15(4), 603-619.

International IDEA. (2018). A framework for developing internal gender policies for electoral management bodies. Stockholm: International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance.

IPU. (2012). Advancement of women. Available at (accessed 22 November 2020)

Iwanaga, K. (2008). Women’s political participation and representation in Asia: Obstacles and challenges. Copenhagen: NIAS Press

Jones, J. (2021). Acting upon our religion: Muslim women’s movements and the remodelling of Islamic practice in India. Modern Asian Studies, 55(1), 40-74.

Kantola, J. (2003). Women’s political representation in the European Union. Journal of Legislative Studies, 15(4), 379-400.

Klenke, K. (2007). Prety woman: Beauty, modernity and morality in Brastagi, North Sumatera. Zeitschrift fur Ethnologie, 132, 209-239.

Krook, M.L. (2014). Electoral gender quotas: A conceptual analysis. Comparative Political Studies, 47(9), 1268-1293.

Kumar, P. (2017). Participation of woman in politics: Worldwide experience. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 22(2), 77-88.

Labani, S., Kaehler, C.Z & De Dios-Ruiz, P. (2009). Gender analysis of woman’s political participation in 7 South-East Asian countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, East Timor and Vietnam, 2008-2009. Regional Gender Programe in South-East Asia-Stage II.

Latief, H. & Nashir, H. (2020). Local dynamics and global engagements of the Islamic modernist movement in contemporary Indonesia: The case of Muhammadiyah (2000-2020). Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 39(2), 290-309.

Menchik, J. (2017). Islam and democracy in Indonesia: Tolerance without liberalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mery, S. (2020). Personal communication. October 27.

Mitra, A. (2018). Poverty, women, and dignity: Reflecting on the writings of Ashnapurna Devi. Asia-Pacific Social Science Review, 17(3), 155-159.

Mushaben, J.M. (2018). The reluctant feminist: Angela Merkel and the modernization of gender politics in Germany. Femina Politica-Zeitschrift fur feministische Politikwisssenschaft, 27(2), 83-95.

Narayan, A. (2018). Matrilineal society. Available (accessed 28 March 2021)

Norris, P. and R. Inglehart. 2003. Rising the tide: Gender equality and cultural change around the world. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Nurcahyati. (2020). Telephone communication. November 2.

O’Brien, J. (2009). Encyclopedia of gender and society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Pandiangan, L.V. (2017). Perempuan politisi Minangkabau dalam dunia politik: Studi tentang alasan perempuan memaknai politik. Jurnal Politik Muda, 6(2), 148-155

Pasaribu, S.D. (2020). Personal communication. 01 November.

Philips, A. (2003). The politics of presence: The political representation of gender, ethnicity, and race. New York: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/0198294158.001.0001

Reid, A. (1998). Female roles in pre-colonial Southeast Asia. Modern Asian Studies, 22(3), 629-645.

Robinson, K. & Bessell, S (eds.). (2002). Woman in Indonesia: Gender, equity, and development. Singapore: ISEAS.

Ryan, M. K., & Branscombe, N.R. (2013). The SAGE Handbook of gender and psychology. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Saragih, J., Lolo, I., & Pranoto, M. (2019). Allah sebagai parsonduk: Perempuan pemimpin dalam konteks Gereja Kristen Protestan Simalungun dan masyarakat Simalungun. Jurnal Abdiel: Khazanah Pemikiran Teologi, Pendidikan Agama Kristen dan Musik Gereja, 3(2), 47-68.

Sari, S.K. (2020). Partisipasi perempuan di legislatif: Studi kasus DPRD Provinsi Sumatera Barat. Jurnal Sosiologi Andalas, 6(2), 70-78.

Selinaswati. (2014). Women in politics in matrilineal society: A case study of West Sumatra, Indonesia. PhD Thesis. Deakin University, Melbourne.

Selinaswati. (2007). A paradox of women representatives in a Muslim patriarchy and matrilineal society in West Sumatra, Indonesia. Masters Thesis, University of Hawa'i, USA.

Schutt, R.K. (2016). Understanding the social world: Research methods for the 21st century. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Shair-Rosenfield, S. (2012). The alternative incumbency effect: Electing women legislators in Indonesia. Electoral Studies, 31(3), 576-587.

Skelton, C., Francis, B., & Smulyan, L. (2008). The SAGE Handbook of gender and education. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Sukri, T., & Timo, D. (2020). Indigeneity and the state in Indonesia: The local turn in the dialectic of recognition. Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 39(2), 270-289.

Teik, G.C. (1972). Why Indonesia's attempt at democracy in the Mid-1950s failed. Modern Asian Studies, 6(2), 225-244.

Tran, N.T. (2018). Familial properties: Gender, state, and society in early Modern Vietnam, 1463-1778. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Van Bemmelen, S.T. (2018). Christianity, colonization, and gender relations in North Sumatra: A patrilineal society in flux. Leiden: Brill.

Veneracion-Rallonza, L. (2008). Women and the democracy project: A feminist take on women’s political participation in the Philippines. In Iwanaga K (ed.). Women’s political participation and representation in Asia: Obstacles and challenges (PP. 210-252) Copenhagen: NIAS Press.

Young, K. (1994). Islamic peasants and the state: The 1908 anti-tax rebellion in West Sumatra. New Haven: Yale University Southeast Asian Studies.


Article Metrics

Abstract view : 0 times
PDF - 0 times

Article Metrics

Abstract view : 0 times
PDF - 0 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 JPPUMA Jurnal Ilmu Pemerintahan dan Sosial Politik Universitas Medan Area

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Universitas Medan Area

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License