Women's Status in the Current Century
There is no denial of the fact that in the 20th century the women’s status has gone through tremendous, unprecedented, radical changes in the length and breath of the planet. They have gained access to many social and economic rights. In some parts of the world they have successfully managed to procure equal rights in different aspects of life, the fundamental right to education, the right to earn their livelihood, the right to vote, the right to participate in most social, economic and cultural activities and the right to represent the highest policy making committees of the country. The rights, which have long been denied to women, are now available to them in most democratic countries.
Coupled with these concessions and liberties, the kind of progress made in the field of science and technology: availability of television, computer, the internet and other similar facilities within easy reach of individuals, plus an easy access to higher education, have provided them multiple opportunities to equip themselves with more knowledge, strength and energy. Consequently, women today are progressing professionally, economically and academically at a faster rate than ever before. Today, we can witness the presence of women in almost all professions.
Undoubtedly, in their effort to gain global prosperity, women today, have been successful in raising their socio-economic status, providing better food, better education and better entertainment facilities for their children. Surprisingly, in spite of gaining global richness, their dream of a peaceful family-life is still only a dream.
Apparently the factors responsible for our dissatisfaction and discontentment are two-fold. In the first place, in our pursuit of material gains, we have, perhaps, forgotten to perform our basic responsibilities within the family effectively and affectionately. Secondly, whether consciously or unconsciously, we have ignored the importance of cultural, spiritual, moral, religious and ethical values which have come down to us as our cultural heritage. In addition, most often, we fail to follow faithfully the gender limitations, which have been set for us through Islamic Law (or Shariah). Accumulative effect of all these shortcomings, most probably, might prove to be the main source of our present suffering and discomfort.
Most women confess that due to the pressures of responsibilities and tension in their career the vacuum created in their domestic life is not compensated for by their material gains. They are finding it difficult to fulfill their personal, social and professional responsibilities effectively. They complain that they feel themselves being torn apart in trying to successfully play their roles as mothers, wives, daughters as well as career women. As a matter of fact, working women today are passing through a critical phase of identity, role and value crisi
In the above lines an effort has been made to depict a picture of educated working women who may be able to procure places in Colleges, Universities, Medicine, Management, Business, Civil Services and even in Politics. But the condition of a vast majority of semi-skilled and unskilled women engaged in labor as factory workers, farm laborers or daily paid workers is much more pathetic. The treatment extended to them at work , home and in society are beyond imagination. Exploitation, rape, divorce, violence, mental and psychological torture, suicide and filthy living conditions are a part of their daily life.
A woman by her innate nature is a symbol of love, affection, warmth, sincerity, tolerance and sacrifice. She can experience emotional satisfaction and fulfillment in its real sense if she can express herself in her natural role as a mother, a sister, a daughter and the real companion to her life partner.
In order to achieve this long cherished desire of a peaceful, loving, God-fearing human society, the modern man and woman have to work together as powerful and equal partners. They have to respect and honor their individuality, their needs and their instinctive natures. And most importantly they have to make a concerted effort to escape from the trap of the vicious circle of gender discrimination, exploitation and deprivation.
In concluding I wish to remind our sisters-in-Islam that our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said as follows:
“True modesty is the source of all virtues.” (Nahjul-Fasaha, No. 1428)
I am sure if we, women, firmly abide by the Islamic faith, the efforts made by the wicked people of the world to seduce or enslave us and destroy our chastity and dignity humiliatingly defeated.
In the end, let us all pray to the Almighty Allah together that:
May Allah protect and guide all of our brothers, sisters and families, keep us on the noble Path of Islam, and save us from all harmful, shameful and evil thoughts and actions.
May He also guide us on the Path of Righteousness - Ameen.