Women’s Participation In Decision Making: The Case Of Muslimat In Party Islam Se-Malaysia(PAS)
Malaysian women have struggled to achieve a better position in the society and particularly in politics. Women in Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) especially have come along way to become a part of decision makers of the country and within the party structure although their number is still small. This paper describes the challenges faced by women in PAS or better known as Muslimat that deter their participation at the leadership level. PAS has been portrayed as unfriendly toward women since the leadership of the party was taken over by a new epithet of leadership by ulama in 1982. However, in recent developments saw a number of changes in PAS towards its female members which reflected a strong inclination of democratization because the party was seen opening up more space for women to participate. This article forms as a part of a much larger qualitative study to explore women’s political participation in the light of democratization within PAS focusing on the changes experienced by its female members. This research has been conducted through a narrative interview technique. The data in this paper is based on interviews with 10 Muslimat from Kelantan. Kelantan was chosen because PAS has been ruling the state since 1990 and it is expected that there are more women at decision making level. All of the informants are currently involved in the decision making process as members of parliament (MP), members of State Legislative Assemblies (ADUN) or appointed to the Local Councils. Some of the findings ascertained were, firstly, there are at least two categories of hindering factors in women’s participation at decision making level, individual factors and institutional factors. Secondly, female members’ perception on their capability and self confident are the main obstacles in pursuing better positions for women to be visible. Further analyses indicate that the informants received support from their families especially from their husband to perform their role as leader but acknowledge that for some women it would cause difficulties if they cannot attain the support.
Index Terms— Political Participation, Women In Pas, Muslimat, Hindering Factors