Who Wears the Hijab? Predictors of Veiling in Greater Jakarta

Iwu D. Utomo, Australian National University
Anna Reimondos, Australian National University
Ariane J. Utomo, Australian National University
Terence H. Hull, Australian National University
Peter McDonald, Australian National University

This paper examines the socio-demographic correlates of veiling among young women in the capital region of Indonesia, a young democracy home to the world’s largest Muslim population. In recent years observers have argued that fundamentalism is increasingly influencing young people. We analyse a representative sample of 1,433 Muslim women aged 20-34 in Greater Jakarta. About 26% of the women surveyed wore the veil. We found a moderately strong association between veiling and other measures of religiosity, including self-reported subjective religiosity and frequency of reading religious texts. Our multivariate analysis suggests a positive association between education attainment and the likelihood of veiling among young Muslim women. In discussing these findings, we draw upon the qualitative component from our study and the literature on Islam, gender, and modernity in Indonesia. The paper highlights the difficulty in examining the practice of veiling as a binary choice, and as a measure of religiosity.

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Presented in Session 93: Population and Geopolitics