The Problem with Polygamy in Indonesia
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Polygamy in Indonesia is legal. A man is permitted to have as many as four wives under the Muslim law. But Despite the low incident of polygamy in Indonesia, it has been a central issue in relations between the Indonesia women, and the state in the twentieth century. Indonesia women’s organizations have long wanted the state to legislate on this matter, yet it was most reluctant to do so until the passage of the marriage Law in 1974. After that the fire went out of the issue as far as women’s organizations were concerned, although “in very recent years” there has been a revival of interest. With respect to marital status, the census report stated that “among Indonesians” 75% of the adults’ males, and 68% of the adults’ females were married. However the number of married females was higher than the number of married adult males. The difference, amounting to 424,588 persons was in part due to the existence of polygamy. For Indonesia, approximately 25 % of the men had more than one wife (Salim 9).
Why Polygamy Is Considered Wrong In Indonesia
Indonesia women’s concern about polygamy are a complex mixture, touching on economic, emotional, social, sexual, moral, legal and religious aspect of marriage. The core of women’s concern was the threat of polygamy to a wife’s love and self esteem. Men have been given power to do what they want yet women are the ones suffering. When a husband took what is almost a younger girl as a new wife, repugnance at having to share a husbands sexual life with another women, and the threat to the economic basis of marriage when resources had to be spread amongst more wives and children. Women in a polygamous marriage always feel inferior towards other women in the same marriage and it often lead to jealousy, frustration and at times death (Day 28-29).
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