Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Communication

First Advisor

John Baldwin


This study investigates South Asian Muslim women’s interpretation of religious scripture and the women’s agency to influence the contemporary patriarchal religious culture. Previous research indicates that the religious customs of the region follow traditional orthodox Islamic scripture that promotes patriarchal practices, yielding barriers for women in the family, education, and professional sectors. Based on an understanding of the religious education system, the history of traditional orthodox Islamic practice, and traditional gender role expectations of the region, I use structuration theory to understand South Asian Muslim women’s identity negotiation and the agency they perceive regarding their ability to influence the society. I interviewed 17 Muslim women from four countries (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Indonesia) of South and South East Asia. Results indicate that there is a gap between gender role expectations of the region and the Muslim women’s interpretation of the religious scripture. While these women believe that Islam empowers them, the current social practice is patriarchal, and the women do not have an adequate agency to voice their differing ideologies. Findings support the idea that the region is male dominant, and women are practicing their agency within the boundaries of the patriarchal system by self-education, research, and educating their inner circle.


Imported from Tasmin_ilstu_0092N_11873.pdf


Page Count


Included in

Communication Commons