Time to move from Women Empowerment into Gender Empowerment
Gender Equality was launched in 2000 by United Nations as the ultimate goals of gender mainstreaming; which been followed by most of all countries in the world. While the Gender and Development (GAD) was becoming the new approach to replace Women in Development (WID) that been launched in 1995, by the same time Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA). However, it's now 15 years past and already two decades after BPFA we still heard women suffered due to gender discrimination, violence against women and become victims from most of all parts of the world. It is not merely at public spheres, they also become victimized in the family life; starting from early life as girls, teen agers, young women, wife, career women, and women entrepreneur up to elderly women. It is truly the sadness of any dream who ever hope to get happiness in life.
None of those girls/women ever asked to be born and be the women! They were created by God; and the life must be precious to His Creator - thus, it is obligation to all other human to give respect to their life and put value on it. Patriarchy culture occurs and keep persistent in many areas of decision making; from family, community, society up to government, legislative, judicative that covers social, law, economic, politic etc. Living in gender equality within peace and harmony seems like a travesty. Again and again we heard how most decision making system were controlled mostly by men only; how to be "good women/ wife" and so on... It’s hardly found that women and men have the same rights in social and harmonious life; particularly in health, education and economic. Either women followed the men or become the sub-ordinates or worst become the combatant to the men's activity, such as: politics, wars, property and so on. Many times women became the gratification, likely "stuffs'' as the gift to the pleasure of men. While in fact, God created women as the helper and aimed for them to help each other!
Gender Harmony (GH) was developed since 2010 to promote respect to men and women for their basic human rights within effective communication to build unity towards family welfare. GH has touched not merely the women empowerment; but also the men's empowerment due to most of men was taught biased by their mothers about gender relationship. Based on research and testimonies, most men were willing to comply harmonious living with the spouse as expression to their love, however they mostly don't know what to do; while their ego has been growing to legitimate their position as anchored in patriarchy culture which they follow. There was good spirit from men to change themselves towards their happiness in family; however most programmes talked only about how to change, to shape and to help women for achieving gender equality.
The women empowerment has given tremendously changes to women; however somehow the men's perception and mindset are still in the old era of patriarchy culture; in certain degree they are still hoping to maintain their legitimating as the men, the leader, the number one in family, and as the head of the house! (This is patriarchy culture beliefs). As the implication, while many programmes are pushing men to support gender equality, the men's mindset is in the conflict with their actions. Most men allowed women to get their development and public activity as long as they have fulfilled their 'obligation' as wife, mother and household caretakers. This 'half-heart' of gender equality programme seems has never been realized by United Nations yet; most countries are still committed to follow UN by performing women's empowerment only. Despite this 'strong and costly' programme implementation around the world; women and girls are still falling down in most parts of the world, particularly in developing countries; due to controlled by men's decisions, actions and what so called by wisdom, even been legalized in the law and what so called by Justice. So sad...
In the past couple weeks, it is noted here that one judicial review to raise up age of marriage to girl from 16 years old to 18 years old was rejected by the Higher National Court. Radio IDOLA from Semarang contacted GH accordingly to get scientific and public opinion. GH stands based on scientific reasons of 16 years is in the category of child (UN definition); health reasons that 16 years old girl is not ready yet for knowledge, development and maturity. The healthy children would come only from the healthy mother; the girls' health is the future women's health; the confident mother may grow the children better; and the smart wife may help the husband and family better as God ever wanted to be (Religion mandate!) - Thus, it became 'devil circle' if we lose one of the criteria. (See recording of the interview in Bahasa Indonesia: http:www.genderharmony.info)
GH has about 150 persons as members who are men and women coming from different communities, societies; from house wife, entrepreneur, priest, religion leader, government employee, higher official, legislative member, directors, private counselor up women activist and so on.
The discussion is varied from daily life, mostly to health, social, economic and politic. We are growing regardless certain religion; GH has five religions in the society; Moslems, Christians, Catholics, Hindu and Buddha. It is noted lately the members are growing in their knowledge and perception as well, not merely in quantity. Active members are quite in balance between men and women; the moderator/ admin is giving facilitation to every discussion in whatsoever topic they like.
Men in the couple years past had posted how women need to give respect to the husband or mother in-law with their reasons (mostly patriarchy culture beliefs); however lately there were some postings from men that men's job was to manage the house while wife did it on behalf of him just to help the husband to get his blessings (?). GH in certain way of communication has made it straight that women’s destiny is four only; menstruation, pregnancy, delivery and breast feeding due to men cannot do it. While other things are decided based on spouse's agreement based on family-convenience not based on myth, culture or traditions. All of life-duties performed by husband and wife shall be judged by God only; thus women are doing the task and related actions as obedience to GOD only not to the husband or men. No one is in the same position as God; men and women are in the same level as the creation of Al-Khalik; God ; Allah the Almighty!
While in the other time, one man posted one philosophy to be an ideal husband. He quoted that it is believed that women left their father, mother and siblings to follow the men as husband; thus to be ideal husband you must become the father, the mother and the brother to the women (?). GH in the harmonic principles stated that what women ever wanted; to have husband as partner to their life; nor a father, a mother or a brother that they might do it but never as the best gift ever if the husband becoming hand in hand in life, within gender partnership, helping each other in equality and equity with the wife; walking and growing together within family career development system, family coping mechanism towards gender transformation in family wellbeing and welfare.
It's time for us together reconsider the programme of women's empowerment to move it on into gender empowerment! Apparently, most men don't know their roles and responsibility as the men in the house and lead the family together with the wife. We know head cannot exist without neck and all parts of the body, although every time we see the face! Being together in gender equality is a Nature way of human body; be the head as men in the house but never neglected the other parts of the body, particularly the neck as the wife in controlling the head. It's a harmony relationship!
What is Gender Empowerment?
We can see Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) Definition - This index, which developed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) which quantitatively measures the empowerment of women on a country-by-country basis.
"It measures gender inequality in three key areas: a) Power over economic resources based on earned income: b) access to professional opportunities and participation in economic decision-making; and c) access to political opportunities and participation in political decision-making, i.e. it indicates women's participation in political and economic life and in decision-making positions such as by the number of parliamentary seats and the number of professional and managerial jobs held by women. The greater the gender disparity, the lower the GEM. The Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) is a measure of inequalities between men's and women's opportunities in a country. It combines inequalities in three areas: political participation and decision making, economic participation and decision making, and power over economic resources".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_Empowerment_Measure - The Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) is an index designed to measure of gender equality.
It is obvious that the index of GEM covers status of men and women in the three areas of: 1) political participation, 2) economic participation and decision making; and 3) decision making (power) related to economic resources. Thus, it is more reasonable if the empowerment is targeted not only to women, also to men as the complement.
Some women/ parties thought that while women are too far being left behind, why men needed to be empowered; they were afraid that the gap of 'equality' has never being reduced (?). Likely the above philosophy about women wanted an ideal husband; never see the physic only (They are not getting married to get another father or mother or brother but a Partner!); where the hopes and perception most matter only! Men's empowerment is mostly related to their mindset and perception to break the Pandora box; get out from patriarchy culture and create egalitarian ethos with the wife, their own palace and happiness! Women's empowerment is family advancement towards future investment! Give respect to your wife as the partner of life; give her the rights of development and human being; you may see the world has never been better afterwards; the happiness is yours only...!
Let's create harmonious living in all aspects of social, culture, health, economic and politics starting from our family, then to community and nation!
Recently in June 2015, GH has provided dialogue with one group of young career professionals; it is proved that GH may solve the problems, bring forward a better relationship within peace and harmony for dual income families; more prepared gender empowerment to future married couples related to economic, dual income family, resources, family decision making; even up to family coping mechanism towards peaceful life and happiness.