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Dr Desy Ayu Pirmasari

Former Research Student

Desy Ayu Pirmasari


My research examines gender discourse in the post-war Aceh, Indonesia and within the implementation of Islamic law, which based on six-month ethnography fieldwork.

I have received various awards and funding for my study and research. In 2015, I was awarded scholarship of Indonesia Endowment Fund for Education to do Ph.D. the same year, I was also selected as one out of only thirty women all over Southeast Asia in Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) Generation:  Women’s Leadership Forum, organised by The United States Mission to ASEAN.

In 2012, I was awarded Chevening Scholarship, which is the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office international awards programme for individuals with strong academic background, outstanding leadership talents and excellent records of achievement. In 2013 my proposal to organise a panel discussion about ‘Arab Spring Quo Vadis’ is chosen as one out of only five programs approved and funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Chevening Scholarships Secretariat.

I have published some academic papers and I also active presenting my paper at conferences in the UK or abroad as well as engaging with activities to communicate my knowledge of expertise with policy makers and general public. Recently, I was invited to talk about ‘Female Leaders amidst Current Pandemic” a webinar organised by US-ASEAN YSEALI Women’s Leadership Academy (WLA) Alumni Network.

In 2016 I was invited to meet US Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Ms. Catherine Russell in which I highlighted some finding from my research regarding gender discourse within the application of Islamic Law in Aceh and some other gender related issue in Indonesia. In 2017, I was involved in thematic Discussion ‘Engaging Men on Women’s Empowerment’ organised by the State Islamic University Ar-Raniry and British Embassy Jakarta. The discussion brought together academia, Islamic scholars, women peace negotiator, and local community to discuss about the issues and challenges of women’s empowerment in a patriarchal society and how to engage men in the process.

Prior to my Ph.D. I was working as journalist and I have assigned to cover various stories from economic and business to major political events and conflict around the world including Libya, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Mindanao (Philippine), Pattani (Thailand), and North Korea. I was also managed to interview many prominent leaders including Abdullah Badawi (Prime Minister of Malaysia 2003–2009), Anwar Ibrahim (Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia 1993-1998), Joseph Estrada (President of the Philippines 1998-2001), as well as Imelda Marcos (First Lady of the Philippines 1965-1986).

My ethnography fieldwork and professional experiences as journalist covering stories from countries all over the world has developed my cultural awareness to communicate with people from different backgrounds and in various environments.

Contact me

Department: Politics, Philosophy and Religion


Current Research

My thesis examines gender discourse in the post-war Aceh, Indonesia and within the implementation of Islamic law. I am investigating of how gender is constructed in Aceh’s sharia and how the regulations expected men and women to behave. The research also analysing how women respond to the law and how they perform their agency or negotiating their identities under the local law that regulates them more than that of men.

The thesis is based on six months ethnography fieldwork which was conducted in 2016-2017. In analysing the data, the research informed by Constructivist Grounded Theory and Critical Discourse Analysis. I am using Computer Assisted/Aided Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) NVivo to organise and code the data.

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