“I cannot imagine my life without women!…I was born and raised by my mother, a woman whom I dearly loved and respected. I was also brought up by my sister and aunt, both of whom were also women. I have sisters and and female friends with whom I played with during my childhood days, which made my life cheerful. Then I marry my wife, a woman I love very much. Women have played such a significant role in my life. What will become of my life and our lives without women in them…?”
Such were the words of a Chinese activist in responding to a debate about the motion brought by Wanita KeADILan regarding the 30% quota to women in decision-making positions.
Allah created human beings in pairs where half of the earth’s population is women. However, majority of policies affecting the society and nation, in which women are also members, usually do not reflect the opinions and viewpoints of women. So, there exists an environment where the views of women are rarely sought in policy and decision-making which concerns women in many ways. Such an environment will certainly produce a kind of a clear imbalance or one-sidedness within society at large.
These day, news of rampant corruption, social ills that involve youths and children, lives hardship due to increased daily living costs, violence against women and the weak, and numerous other hideous incidents that tears the heart and upsets the mind. The solutions to those ills demand a dynamic and forceful will, which of course must include women as members of the decision-making process.
Directly or indirectly, women have and will continue to play a major role in ascertaining harmony within society. Through their duties and interaction within the family units, their contribution in the workplace, and organisation in which they are active, women always give their best endlessly without self-interest. However, women have become too complacent and comfortable standing behind other people, especially men who usually decides for them.
Undeniably, such mindset is the outcome of life within the family which is based on patriarchal value. Islam also maintains such view in order to protect the family and the ummah. Many women, however, failed to differentiate between their role within the family and their role outside the family. Women must understand that the divine injunction that says men are superior to women from the perspective of decision making process within the family, does not cover the roles of men and women within an organization and in upholding the process of democracy. The status of men and women is the same in domains outside the family; only taqwa (the degree of faith) differentiates them. In an organisation, the role of an individual is based on the position held and duties assigned. When more men and women understand that notion, we will all proceed with accomplishing our duties without any difficulty.
Women think differently from men. Psychologically, it has been proven that when women decide, their consideration rests on the best interests of the family and society, unlike men who deliberates more on development and profits. Therefore, it is imperative that women’s perspectives and voice be taken seriously when making decisions because they ensure the achievement of balanced decisions which reflect the interests of everyone within the society and nation.
The Beijing Declaration 1995 opted 30% as the minimum quota for women’s voice that would enable balanced decisions to be achieved and implemented. Parti Keadilan Rakyat had also agreed to implement that quota in the 2000 Annual Conference. Up till now we are still lagging behind in fulfilling that 30% women representation in decision-making process. With eight years of grassroots leadership development, mission, and principle building, Wanita KeADILan has consolidated the Women’s Wing at all party levels. Not only that, now the women are able to work in other arenas, outside the party.
The party’s Women Wing is now ready to fulfil the 30% quota which was agreed in the party’s resolution since 2000. That should be translated in assigning to women the 30% minimum seats for delegates to the party’s upcoming 2007 Congress in May. Also, to be translated in the MPT line-up (Majlis Pimpinan Tertinggi), where 30% of its members should be women. Wanita KeADILan is also offering to fulfil one of the vice-president seats in its quest to achieve that 30% quota. With the voice of women securely established, we can expect the reformasi agenda which the party upholds will offer the best to the people of Malaysia, where half the population is women. Women who are our mothers whom we love, who have showered us with love and kindness all our lives, our sisters who love us, too, and our wives and daughters who are the apples of our eyes. Surely, we will never reject the 30% voice of women in the decision making process within the party and onward in Parliament which will make our women’s lives more blissful and complete. Let’s look forward to a better future with such solid involvement of women!