Love, Life And Ending For Women
International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8 March every year. For 2019 the campaign’s theme is “Better the Balance, Better the World” with hashtag BalanceforBetter. Among others, the campaign is intended to raise awareness against bias throughout the globe.
Undeniably in some parts of the world, there are women still facing some sort of gender discrimination. This imbalanced gender practices may occur in various occasions like work place, household role, education and others. Most of the time, such practises are not associated with any religion values. Rather, it relates to the culture of that particular society and the way they interpret their life.
Why is it until today, we see women need to be ‘supported’? Are they born with all sorts of weaknesses? The truth is on how we perceive and define ‘support’. Those who associate the word with weakness will never understand how women play their unique role in the world so that we can live peacefully. The other view interprets the word as the way women empower and appreciate each other positively.
For example, care work is very synonym to women. Throughout time, women play a very important role in care work since they are blessed with the richness of love and emotions. They conceive, and become mothers. Allah mentioned in Surah Luqman verse 14. “And We have enjoined upon man (care) for his parents. His mother carried him, (increasing her) in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years. Be grateful to Me and to your parents; to Me is the (final) destination”. This verse indicates that Allah has bestowed and appreciate the important role of women by asking us, the children to respect, love and care for them.
Love is essential for the well-being of human and demanded in Islam. In fact, to be a true Muslim, one has to inculcate love for others within himself. This act is mentioned in a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) narrated by Abu Hurairah which means, “You will not enter Paradise until you believe and you will not believe until you love each other. Shall I show you something that, if you did, you would love each other? Spread peace between yourselves” (Sahih Muslim).
In care work, love is the most powerful and free tool for human in entertaining others. In economy, care work can be found across the formal and informal sector. In the formal sector, health, education and social services are provided by the government through institutionalization.
The unpaid care services on the other hand, are usually served by family members. According to International Labour Organization (ILO), care for the elderly and the sick often falls on women and girls. This is in line with the fact that the world’s population is living longer today. The situation becomes more challenging hence the increasing number of women entering the workforce but still fulfilling the responsibilities to care for family members.
Some people take for granted the important role of care work. They view this action as a ‘women thing’; not productive and does not contribute to the economy. But they forget this ‘women thing’ is born to both men and women and contributed to their success in career and life.
From one perspective, care work in today’s economy is a potentially growing sector with diversity of skills and employment. Therefore, care work is no longer associated with unpaid and limited services nor to be offered on money based only. In fact, it caters both purposes, economic and social development.
However care work in economy does not mean that family members may switch the care to others, irresponsibly. In one view, it is a way to give economic value to this social aspect (care work) that we have neglected before. For example, policies pertaining early childhood education, disability and long term care, family-friendly working environment, parental leaves and others that can actually encourage people to be more productive but at the same time care for their family.
In another view, care work also provides job opportunities for people in various areas including gerontology, childcare service and social work through a stable and strong institution governed by the government. In UK for example, there is an assumption that rising from ageing population may demand for 25,000 jobs by 2025.
Of course, the best care is provided by family members. It teaches us about unconditional love, responsibilities and humanity to others. In caring for the elderly for example, the children, both men and women, married and unmarried, are responsible to care and love for them unless they are not able to do so. Neither a little “ah” nor harsh words can be uttered to them, but only good words to address them (Quran, 17:23).