Empowering women in our society

Empowerment of women in socio-economic and political field in Bangladesh has earned applause from the entire world

The matters that have raised a storm of discussions in the twenty-first century are, one of many, the question of empowering or raising the capability of the women folk around the global society. The question is not only the emancipation of women from the sub-human standard of life but it is also of ensuring the participation of women in the policy making for solving many of the socio-economic and political problems that are considered indispensable. The meaning of the raising of the capability of or empowering women means to ensure such a healthy social environment so that the women folk may gain the opportunity of becoming the mistresses of their ‘right of freedom and dignity’ of lives on their own excellence.
The concept of empowering women is not against men, it is against the system of paternity. Its aim is to free the men from playing the role of oppressor and exploiter of women. The men will play their role in household affairs and rearing up children on the basis of equal right and responsibility with women. Side by side the women will equally take part in the discharges of duties of the men in the family and social life.
Empowering of the women in socio-economic and political field in Bangladesh has earned applause from the entire world. Likewise in the international arena there are about more than twenty women heads of governments in the entire world. Russian female astronaut Velentina Terescova surprised the world by conquering space. Two Bangladeshi female mountaineers planted the flag of the country at the peak of Himalayan Everest. According to the estimate of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) there are 170 million working women in Bangladesh.
Millions of women are making extraordinary contributions to our society and national economy. The women folks of this country are rendering health, education services and working in office, judiciary and other fields with fame. The lion share of the foreign exchange is being earned by millions of the tireless hard working female workers in the garment sector of the Bangladesh economy.
These female workers are now able to stand on their own feet. The skilful activities of the Bangladesh female workers have earned praise from foreign countries. The women of Saudi Arabia where Islam was originated are driving motor cars in highways and playing foot ball. The woman folks of Iran, Egypt along with Pakistan are famed in sports and games. The women of Bangladesh are representing in the cricket world cup. Bangladesh women are a degree ahead to some extent in the FIFA ranking than its boys.
Nevertheless, though equal rights for men and women have been ensured in the Bangladesh Constitution, but in practice it is not obeyed in the true spirit. Islam – a religion followed by majority of the country’s population – also ensures equal rights for men and women provided.
This is expressed in the intrinsic meaning of the ayah “They are your garments and ye are their garments” (al-Qur’an, 2:187); “meaning: husband and wife will increase one another’s glamour by hiding one another’s gilts and faults – this is akin to the relation between hand-gloves and the hands” . The rights of husband and wife in family life are equal in the eye of Islam (al-Qur’an, 4:19). But a section of the ultra conservative elements lacking true knowledge of Islamic canons is up to suppressing the women folks and that tantamount to an obstacle to ensure the genuine status of women in the society.
It is regrettable that there has not occurred a positive change in our attitude to our women folks in the country. The women lack security everywhere. They do not dare to move out of home alone. If a woman goes out after sunset, the members of her family are to remain terrified until she returns home. The malicious attitude towards women is on the increase.
Apart from political malice the social malice has considerably increased which is alarming to the people of the country. Whatever may be the advancement of civilization from the view point of progress in knowledge, science and technology, the mentality of people has been narrowed down in many respects. Malice, oppression, atrocities, deprivations, disparities, ill-treatment towards women has increased. It is futile to hope for a better and peaceful society without justifiably evaluating the status of women in a society.
True, not only in the international sphere, even in Bangladesh at local level, in the case of issues like policy determinations to solve various problems facing the society the role of women is being given due importance. In spite of this the killing of women, rape cases, and oppressions are on the increase. In this case without going beyond the limit it is wise to logically address the problem of women empowerment with a view to religious injunctions so that women also become responsible.
From the social point of view, what is urgent now is to educate people in religious canons which guarantee appropriate rights of women in a society at home and outside home and the responsibility of men towards women’s rights as well as men. It is necessary for the conscious people to consider the practical aspects as to where lies the position and status of women in a society, and educate the public to that end. It is wrong to give sway to the western fashion of women’s rights in a global economy where women have been converted to commodities and are much more ill-treated in those societies.
As for example: to international Women’s Day on March 8, 2016 the French President Hollande has taken to the pages of a women’s magazine for the fist time in his four years in  power to admit that harassment of women is “scandalously trivialized” by French society. Even then, what we see alarming in our today’s society so far as women’s rights, status and security in our society are concerned is based on the demonstration effect/model of the western advanced economies of the world.
Contrarily, we will have to find the solution to this issue in our traditional socio-religious and cultural value judgments to save the women from being degraded in their social status. Islam has the most appropriate prescription for women’s prestigious and dignified rights in a society – we are to follow that; not the western rotten model of women’s rights and empowerment.

Source: The Independent. Date: 16 March 2016