Men need to be partners for women’s empowerment

Men need to be partnersTamil Nadu, January 28, 2012: Recently the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) women’s wing held a conference in Chennai for a day and threw it open only for women. The concept of the conference was “Muslim women’s empowerment”. The decision to allow only women to attend the conference surprised me. I will explain the reasons for my surprise.

Women empowerment concept has a broader and deeper perspective. Those who are not aware of the real meaning of it think that education and employment would empower women. Muslims are ready to accept the need for education and but not yet ready for employment and economic independence of women for various reasons. They do not understand that education, employment and legal awareness are, only the tools of empowerment and will not guarantee empowerment per se. If these tools have to succeed in achieving the end i.e. the empowerment of women, several other qualities are to be acquired by women. Even after acquiring the required qualities they can not truly achieve empowerment without men’s support. Behind every successful woman there is a supportive father or husband and even sons. Empowerment of women is not possible without men’s solid support.

Several of the offences against the women are committed by men. If many unfortunate women suffer in silence, driven to frustration and depression, it is because of the strangulating acts of men. No women can achieve empowerment if the men in their life have very narrow vision about women’s role in the family. Behind the menace of dowry, delayed marriage of Muslim girls the greed of men is there. Behind domestic violence and non dignified treatment of women are men. If education and employment rights are denied to women, the men in their life are responsible. If women are treated as non entity and not allowed to participate in the decision making process regarding the family matters, it is again, the men who do not want to give due credit to women’s wisdom are responsible. Therefore it is the mind-set of men which has to change regarding women’s role in the family, the society and the nation.

With a supportive father or husband and sons women can blossom with radiance and live with dignity. That is why Allah has created a world with both men and women and wants them to live in harmony. He has not created two worlds one for men and another for women. Therefore, half the battle regarding Muslim women’s empowerment can be won with changing the mind set of men towards women’s basic requirements. Then, why men are not allowed to participate in such conferences? What is the use of creating awareness only among women about women empowerment issues and without making men understand them? What purpose can be served if the struggles and problems which stand in the way of empowerment of women are not conveyed to men? It is time for the Muslim leaders to rise above narrow vision in the name of Islam. It is not at all wise to conduct conferences on women matters by banning the participation of men in the discussion.

– dr. prof . rameeza. a. rasheed

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