I am oftentimes bothered when finding well-educated people don’t understand the importance of gender equality in social life, for both sexes betterment, not only for women, but also for men. To me, this kind of well-educated people are people who limit their own interpretation of what a woman is born for; people who let themselves ‘blinded’ by their narrow-minded interpretation of their religious teachings, as well as the narrow-minded understanding of what a culture is.
One of its examples is when I read an article in one local tabloid. The article was about a profile of a woman who has been busy in social organizations in Central Java. She said that gender equality does not necessarily mean the equal number. It means that she criticized the affirmative action given to women in politic sphere. Women do not need affirmative action to show that they are as capable as men. Furthermore, she said that gender equality clashed religious teachings as well as Indonesian culture.
Unfortunately the article didn’t give thorough explanation of that woman what she meant by saying that the success of gender equality does not automatically result in the more number of women involved in public sphere. Therefore, I had to use my interpretation when reading such a limited accusation, “gender equality is a failure if the success of it lies in the quantity”.
To know my opinion on feminism (gender equality means feminist movement), read my previous post on “Feminism: a western culture?”
I am of opinion that it is necessary to give affirmative action to show that they are as capable as men in politics due to the fact that women have had limit access to politics because they have been considered incapable. Why incapable? Because they have been considered as domestic creatures so that their main duty is to take care of children and husbands. Take a look at the example of the number of students for vocational schools. Many vocational schools offering the skills to cook, to sew, and recently including for makeup have been full of female students. On the other hand, vocational schools offering the skills for machines, electricity, etc have been full of male students. Besides, one thing we cannot deny is that parents give sons more priority to continue their education than daughters when they have financial constraints, without trying to analyze who has a higher intellect.
Because women have been imprisoned in domestic sphere, they have had limited experience in public sphere.
So, how to find out that women are also as capable as men in public sphere, especially in politics? Give them a chance to show their capability. How? Give them affirmative action. Don’t limit them only as domestic creatures.
Women are human beings, and not just the second sex. It means that they have full right to make a choice in their life, without any limitation based on religious teachings or the so-called cultures. They are free to choose
- to be single, or married.
- to be a full housewife or have career outside home
- to be a full mother or a part time mother because they want to have career outside home
- to be single parent when they don’t find any man suitable with their way of life
- not to have a baby or to be a breeder
- to work in public as well as domestic sphere
- to be lesbian or straight
- including to be a superwoman who is willing to fulfill their religious teaching requirement (read => to get married, having kids, be a super wife as well as mother, not to mention as money maker too, without forgetting her ‘main duty’ as the servant of their husband and children)
Once again, women are free to choose which suits their interest, without any burden in following religious teachings or cultures. Treat women as adult and human beings and then ask them to be responsible with their choices.
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