Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation
Today is part-two of the last post, which explained IWE's collaboration with Solidaritas Perempuan Aceh (Aceh Women Solidarity) and RAHIMA in order to introduce the concept of pluralism to the people of West Java and Aceh.
Pluralism is a framework where interaction within and among community groups is based on inclusiveness, an acceptance of differences, and mutual respect. It is essential for modern communities and one of the most important foundations of advancement in knowledge, progress in the community and achievement of economic welfare.
Unfortunately, Aceh and West Java are still practicing discrimination in customary traditions and law enforcement at the local level. For instance, local regulation issued by the Governor still discriminates against women and treats them like objects. Violence and discrimination are manifestations of patriarchy in authoritarian societies. Power lies only in a handful of patriarchal and fundamentalist leaders, and political decisions are only made by this group. This is quite unfortunate in a situation where justice and pluralism can only be achieved through even distribution of power and proportional sharing of power between men and women.
Considering the will of the communities for a life of peace free of conflict, and full of mutual respect, IWE, together with Solidaritas Perempuan Aceh (Aceh Women Solidarity) as well as RAHIMA in West Java, have worked hand in hand through the WELDD programme to disseminate the concept of pluralism using the language of the people and quoting the rulings from the Qur’an and the Hadith (Words of Prophet Muhammad PBUH) as well as promoting positive values such as justice, gender equality, compassion, mutual respect and enforcement of the rights of women. This collaboration was able to produce active participation and commitment from the community to reduce and minimize conflict and to withdraw local regulations that is discriminative against women or against SARA (Ethnicity, Religion, Race, and Community Groups).
Yesterday, we brought in experiences from IWE's partner Solidaritas Perempuan Aceh (Aceh Women Solidarity). Today, we bring in words from IWE's partner, RAHIMA.
“I conducted discussions on human rights and women’s rights with a number of groups: colleagues at UIN Semarang and from Pilar, a campus-based discussion group.
, writing about women’s issues in education and women’s position in Pancasila.
Apart from this, we also conducted discussions on human rights and women’s rights at Islamic boarding schools (pesantren). This discussion was initiated through light conversation, where someone said “how great it is to become a man”, and someone responded “why do you want to be a man”, and then continued on to awareness on women’s rights practices.
Another method of discussion was movie screening. We watched a movie titled “Atas Nama” (‘On Behalf Of...’) produced by the National Women’s Commission about religion and tolerance. After watching this movie, we had a discussion to reflect on the situation in the movie with the condition of society surrounding us. We conduct this discussion regularly—every Wednesday evening. Topics of discussion usually involve women’s issues, for example inheritance rights. The teachers at the pesantren are very supportive. In the future, I also want to discuss gender issues and bring more sensitization around that topic.” (Nur Ianah, Jawa Tengah)
“After becoming involved with IWE-WELDD and RAHIMA, I share the knowledge that I got from both organisations. In a number of discussions, I linked the materials on women’s leadership, diversity, peace and human and women’s rights with the issues of ‘women’s reproductive health’. In relation to this, I conducted an information session on youth reproductive health to students of Islamic junior and senior high schools (MTS and MA). People involved with the pesantren and some state officials were invited.
The next discussion was when I delivered a lecture on gender and Islam. I tried to guide the discussion so that students understood what gender is. I tried to raise their awareness on the difference between men and women and how women have been disadvantaged through systematic differentiated practices. The differentiation should not happen if we believe that God created men and women as equal.
Although I have not seen significant changes, I do notice the students have started realising the misconception of gender. I hope these minor changes will carry on towards a better situation—eventually changing their ways of life, leading them to one day better practice the values of gender equality and justice.” (Raudlatul, Jawa Timur).
These actions may not seem like landslides--but that is only for now. It's the small, barely-discenrable seed that sets things in motion. All change, big or small, starts somewhere, and with enough seeds, the world will eventually see a forest!
(Wikipedia) Pancasila (pronounced [pantʃaˈsila]) is the official philosophicalfoundation of the Indonesian state. Pancasila consists of two Old Javanese words (originally from Sanskrit): "pañca" meaning five, and "sīla" meaning principles. It comprises five principles held to be inseparable and interrelated:
Just and civilised humanity (in Indonesian, Kemanusiaan Yang Adil dan Beradab).
The unity of Indonesia (in Indonesian, Persatuan Indonesia).
Democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations amongst representatives (in Indonesian,Kerakyatan Yang Dipimpin oleh Hikmat Kebijaksanaan, Dalam Permusyawaratan dan Perwakilan).