Date of Award

August 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Urban Education

First Advisor

Rajeswari Swaminathan

Second Advisor

Aaron M Schutz

Committee Members

Marie Sandy, Cynthia Taines


Girl leaders, Indonesian youth leadership, Young women leaders, Youth civic participation, Youth leaders, Youth leadership


This dissertation research interprets the result of a qualitative, single case study of youth participation and leadership of disadvantaged youth leaders inside Wahana Visi Forum Anak da’Bajay (Wahana Visi’s da’Bajay Children Forum), a youth organization with children’s rights orientation located in Surabaya, Indonesia. The purpose of this study is to learn how urban youth in FAB, a youth organization with a children’s rights orientation, engage in civil society and exercise leadership at local and citywide levels. Drawing on youth participation, leadership theories, and the Indonesian context, the findings revealed that the youth leaders defined and practiced their own version of youth leadership. The youth leaders defined youth leadership as an act of leading oneself, then extending towards leading others using positive leadership. They also had bipolar view of leadership, where on one end, there was a belief that every youth could be a leader, while on the other end, a leader was seen as someone with a leadership title or a person authorized as leader. The youth leaders perceived their leadership practice as a form of youth identity where they relied on direct mentoring, personal example, and opening up the Forum to multiple perspectives learning as their practice strategies. The youth leaders also had different leadership challenges when they practiced leadership inside the Forum and in the community. Specific for young women leaders, there were unique leadership experiences and challenges due to the intersection between leadership practice and gender identities/role.