Never-Married Malay Muslim Women in Modernised Malaysia: Are they Rejecting Marriage?

By Rozita Ibrahim and Zaharah Hassan.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The contemporary period of globalisation and modernisation transformed the way people ‘do family’. One of the effects of globalisation in the private realm is the rise of individualism. It has impacted upon an important aspect in starting a family i.e. marriage decision. Traditionally it is the prerogative of the parents and elder members of the family. However in current times, the decision is mainly taken by the individuals themselves. Hence those who are not married are sometimes perceived as being too individualistic so much so that they are rejecting marriage in favour of personal freedom. Is this true or is it just a bias opinion towards the never-married? This paper attempts to understand single women’s perspectives towards two key points, i.e. (1) reasons for non-marriage, and (2) perceptions towards the meaning of marriage. The discussion will be based on the analysis of in-depth interviews with 20 never-married Malay Muslim women aged 30 and above. The findings indicate that various inter-related reasons explain their state of remaining single over the normal marriageable age. Also, it is apparent that though single women enjoy their personal freedom, they do not actually reject marriage. Rather they are particular of when and whom to marry.

Keywords: Muslim Women, Malaysian Women, Singlehood, Marriage and Gender, Individualism

Global Studies Journal, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.45-56. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.141MB).

Rozita Ibrahim

PhD Student, National University of Malaysia, Malaysia

Dr. Zaharah Hassan

Senior Lecturer, National University of Malaysia, Malaysia


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