- Gender inequality
- Behind maternal mortality in Nias Island, North Sumatra, Indonesia: Towards a gender audit
- Award date
- 10 April 2018
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Singling out Nias Island in North Sumatra Indonesia as the research location, this research attempts to analyze local aspects pertaining to gender inequality in the context of maternal health in Indonesia. This research aims to portray the presence of gender inequality in Nias, and how it affects the reproductive health of and poses Niasan women to the risk of maternal death. It also carefully examines the social situations in which gender inequality is established and reproduced by the existing social systems. This study shows that gender formulations, mirroring unequal power relationships between men and women, have been established in various social symbols. Focusing on wedding ritual, this study reveals that this particular ritual in Nias functions as passionate aesthetics to maintain the stability of heteronormativity. As a mechanism to preserve the socially-accepted gender norms, the marriage ritual also represents as a standardized template, in which "the golden rules" of ideal Niasan women are created and maintained. This study also reveals that women’s positions as wife and daughter-in-law in fact bring negative consequences to many aspects of women’s lives, which is in turn, expose women to the high risk of maternal death. In contrast, gender demarcations do not only prevent men from participating in reproductive health matters but also allow them to perpetuate the unequal gender formations giving them privileges. Thus, operating through these pseudo-natural mechanisms, gender inequality is embraced by both men and women as something unquestionable. This gender inequality is an important answer as to why the number of maternal mortality in Nias Island or in Indonesia is still extremely high.
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