Published November 17, 2014
A new club in Indonesia that encourages women to be totally obedient to their husbands and focus on keeping them sexually satisfied has generated an outcry from some activists.
The Indonesian branch of the Obedient Wives Club, launched early this month in Malaysia, claims to have about 300 members in several cities. Group leader Gina Puspita said the club would offer its members a package of teachings including how to treat their husbands in bed.
"A wife has to be 100 percent obedient to her husband in all aspects, especially in sexual treatment," she said.
About 50 women and their husbands attended the Saturday launching of the Indonesian branch of the club at a restaurant in southern Jakarta.
The club was founded by the conservative Islamic group Global Ikhwan in Malaysia, where hundreds of women are members. Organizers claim they can cure social ills such as prostitution and divorce by teaching women to be submissive and to keep their men happy in the bedroom.
Husein Muhammad, a commissioner of KOMNAS Perempuan, an Indonesia commission on women's rights, said "such a club is needless" and would not get support in the country.
"The obedience should be from both sides — husband and wife," Muhammad said Sunday. "Such a club just places women as subordinates, and a marginal group."
Indonesia's government guarantees equal rights and opportunities for men and women, though some Indonesians are dissatisfied with discriminative bylaws imposed by local governments promoting strict moral values.
Ellin Rozana of the Women's Institute sees the club as a wrongheaded effort to fight prostitution, which she said is caused more by poverty than by husbands' unfulfilled desires. "Such a club is backward in emancipation and respect of women's rights," she said.
However, Makruf Amin, of the influential Indonesian Cleric Council, said he saw no problem with the club as long as it does not violate principles of Islam.
"As long as it just wants to teach good things to the wives, that is OK," he said.
In 2009, the same group behind the Obedient Wives Club set up a branch of the Polygamy Club in Indonesia, which also upset women's groups and religious leaders in the world's most populous Muslim nation.