Indigenous Feminism, Gender Equality, and Languages in Mah Meri Tribe of Peninsular Malaysia

  • Nurul Shatirah Zainol
  • Rafidah Abd Karim


The Orang Asli, the indigenous people of Peninsular Malaysia, have witnessed various changes in their minority community over time. The culture of indigenous people is traditionally negative towards the advancement of women; hence this indicates that Orang Asli women need exposure regarding their rights to be able to empower themselves. The main purpose of this paper is to explore indigenous feminism, gender equality and language among the Orang Asli women of the Mah Meri tribe. This study utilizes a qualitative case study as the main research design and the data for the study are collected through the semi-structured interviews with five women from Mah Meri tribe. All collected data is analyzed using thematic analysis and Atlas.ti 8 software. This is used to facilitate the data analysis process. The research study is grounded in Feminism Theory for an assessment of gender equality among Orang Asli women. The findings of the study show that Mah Meri women have prior knowledge and realization about their women’s rights. It is also presented that although not in all aspects of their lives, Orang Asli women are facing gender equality issues within their society. It is also emphasized that Mah Meri women do use indigenous languages specifically for daily communication processes, and to preserve their indigenous language, culture, and self-identity. The findings of this study may benefit us in understanding and recognizing the issues faced by Orang Asli women, subsequently providing insights into initiatives to be taken by relevant authorities in order to help improve the lives of Orang Asli women.


Baqutayan, S. M. S. (2020). Women Empowerment is needed to Boost Gender Equality in Malaysia. Current Research Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities, 3(1), 95–107.
Climate Investment Funds (CIF). (2021). Empowering Indigenous Women to Integrate Traditional Knowledge and Practices in Climate Action.
Karim, R. A., Kamarudin, S., Zaidi, A., Rashdi, W. F. A. W. M., & Ghani, N. F. C. (2021). A Case Study of Orang Asli Women Role in Achieving Gender Equality. Journal of Educational Research and Indigenous Studies, 3(1).
Karim, R. A., Mustapha, R., & Zainol, N. S. (2022). Women Leadership in Higher Learning Institutions: Malaysia’s Challenging Path to SDG 5. DAKAM (Eastern Mediterranean Academic Research Center) Studies in Humanities Conference Proceedings Fall 2022.'S_CHALLENGING_PATH_TO_SDG_5
Mratinkovic, A., Piestun, D., Fouda, H. S., Killings, F., El Hajj, S., Parveen, F., Krunic, I., Pehcevski, J., Nur, T., Stephen, & Michelle (Eds.). (2017). Gender and Equality. 3G E-learning LLC.
Pandey, J. (2021). Feminist Theory as a Theory of Justice in Modern Times. SSRN Electronic Journal.
Samouei, R., Shooshtari, S., Abedi, M., & Bahrami, M. (2018). Empowerment of women and mental health improvement with a Preventive approach. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 7(1), 31.
Shaikh, S. S. (2017). Evaluating the Awareness of Women’ Rights in Public Sector Universities. Grassroots, 51(2).
Sieberer, U., Dutkowski, J. F., Meißner, P., & Müller, W. C. (2020). “Going institutional” to overcome obstruction: Explaining the suppression of minority rights in Western European parliaments, 1945−2010. European Journal of Political Research, 59(4), 886–909.
Thambiah, S., Man, Z., & Idrus, R. (2016). Orang Asli Women Negotiating Education and Identity: Creating a Vision of the Self with Socially Available Possibilities. Research Gate.
How to Cite
ZAINOL, Nurul Shatirah; ABD KARIM, Rafidah. Indigenous Feminism, Gender Equality, and Languages in Mah Meri Tribe of Peninsular Malaysia. Asian Journal of Research in Education and Social Sciences, [S.l.], v. 6, n. 1, p. 127-139, mar. 2024. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 may 2024.
English Section