Dynamics of Gender, Religion and Education among Young Female Muslims in Malaysia
This paper provides an insight into the lives of Muslim female students in Malaysia, a country currently undergoing multiple developments entailing continuous societal pluralisation and diversification with concomitant retention of the centrality of religious values. Accordingly, young people in Malaysia are exposed to a range of different worldviews and value systems, while frequently growing up in families which place emphasis on religious norms. On the basis of in-depth interviews with Muslim female students, the paper explores the interrelationships between the diversity categories of gender, religion and academic ability, and demonstrates that ability and religion serve as resources enabling the interviewees to simultaneously pursue autonomy and maintain ties to their families. In a broader context, the paper provides a critical analysis of the frequently one-dimensional discourse on Muslim women by giving voice to the diversity of their perspectives and experiences.
Keywords: diversity, education, gender, Islam, Malaysia.