Emy Susanti


The practice of the early marriage of girls (under 16 years old) in the rural communities of Indonesia has remained to this day. This article aims to examine how the role of female leaders and local women’s organisations in rural communities and how they seek to eliminate the practice of child marriage. This article is based on a study conducted in 2 (two) poor villages on Madura Island, East Java Province, namely Sampang District and Bangkalan District. The subjects of this study were women who married at a young age, their husbands, parents, members of the women’s organisations and the leaders of the women’s organisations. The data collection techniques applied in this study included the in-depth interview technique with 20 informants and questionnaires with 200 respondents who had been purposively selected. This study shows that the knowledge of women on the issue of child early marriage reflects a lack of gender awareness. However, this study identified the important role of local female leaders in eliminating the practice of child marriage. Through empowerment activities and programs, female local leaders have been raising the knowledge and consciousness of women on the issue of early marriage. The role of local female leaders was also important in trying to raise the consciousness of local male leaders about the risks of child marriage practices for the young wives and their children and the importance of ending the practice of child marriage.

Author Biography

Emy Susanti is a Professor of Sociology in the Faculty of Social and Political Science, Airlangga University Surabaya, Indonesia. The author's concentration within sociology is mostly on gender.