TALKING ABOUT EQUALITY: Is Still Right?
The article “Being a woman is a paradox” written by Mateus Yumarnamto describes that being a female, especially in Indonesia, has to live in two worlds. First, struggling for freedom, means challenging men’s power. Another one is living in peace, means accepting the fate that women’s place is in a subordinate position in society.
Indonesian feminists are aware of that disadvantaged condition. Definitely, they struggle for the first points by not insulting the most sensitive factors of the male mentality: the feeling of a superior. They do not declare to be superior to men, but they struggle to obtain equality in deserving respect. Both sexes, men and females, have inherited both good and bad genes. The essential point here is respecting the differences. Both have the same chances as long as the space provided is also the same.
The issue about women is endlessly fascinating to discuss. Unfortunately, being a woman is not positively an pleasant thing. Moreover, when it is about equality. Being equal represents the right that women struggle for many many years. But how about today? Does their struggle still relevant to the spirit of equality? Thus, this paper conducts the discussion about whether the things that women struggle to be equal with men today are still relevant to the spirit of equality itself.
Talking about women, the thing that comes up in mind is beautifulness, tenderness, and weaknesses. Those things can be noted through visual appearance, movements, and also voice. Such identity is commonly related to the females.
The existence of women is often signed as a complementary in family life. House will not shine and be colorful if there is no woman taking care of it. It is frequently to be heard the proverb that life is empty without women. Commonly, a male said that. Without them, heart, feeling, and thought will be so bare. Even one said that women had closely related to many aspects of life. A success family cannot be separated with women’s touch.
Why talking about women? As stated in Kompas (07/03/1999), the amount of women today is 52% of 5.9 billion people in the world. From 1.3 billion poor citizens, 70% among them is women. Economic crises produce women entering the law-untouchable occupation. Poverty generates them become a susceptible group.
The mortality rate of pregnant women in most disadvantaged area in the world is around 85%. Moreover, the lack of nutrition is continued become a dark shadow between pregnant women and the baby. In many cases, women reproduction health is also still far from sufficiency.
Moreover, Hartiningsih (1999) stated that in working field, women merely accept 30%-40% of the male salary for the same job. Women power in a domestic sector is never considered. More of 50% migrant workers who contribute a massive amount of foreign exchange (devisa) is women. But, the protection towards them is very insufficient. They who live in conflict or war area is become a susceptible group to any cruelty and sexual abused.
In this manner, women have problems and unjust condition. There are not few women lost their rights: appreciation and attention. It can be seen thorough the phenomena that women are frequently treated inappropriately. The inappropriate treatments accept by women make women as invaluable creature and deserve to receive such treatment. So many stories talk about women’s life. Starting from the broke-up family, in which women habitually being the main reason as the only one who holds responsible of the failure in family, up to many husbands are dared to maltreat and to torture his wife, to divorce with no money left behind for wives and children.
Fortunately, many women’s cases have already commanded an attention from many people. For saving women, lifting them up from the maltreatment and unfairness, many institutions, organizations or forums is formed to help and support women in facing their problems. Even the highest institutions in the world, United Nations, also involves in saving women by deciding March 8th as the International Women’s Day. This day is legalized by UN in 1978 (China Radio International, 2005).
In Indonesia, the application of the International Women’s Day is Kartini’s Day, April 21st. It is a day to bestow honor to Kartini who struggle the women’s right in enjoying the same opportunity as men have, especially in education. It was a proper point at that time. It is decent if women host Women’s Day. It is the appreciation for women who have already denoted power, thought, and time to escape this life altogether with men. Although it is not inevitably obtaining the attention from any people, women, nevertheless, continue to fulfil their role. In the recent years, in many companies, organizations and forums, women sit and hold the important position. The myth that they merely have to stay at home, cooking, and mothering, day by day become disappear and changing into flexible, independent, and business women.
What a pity, some women want to be equal and balance role in every field beside the men, even in area in which women are not decently or do not have to do. Feminism pushes women to participate in the “men’s world” (usually assumes to be white-collar work) without always adequately appreciating the importance of “women’s work.” In the present circumstances, the pendulum has swung too far. They almost put aside or even, forget about the main role of being a woman. They drown too deep in giving meaning of being equal. Or is this the ‘absolute’ freedom what women today mean?
Awarding to Agung (2001), the freedom has to be based on a mature thinking, a broad knowledge, the faith, the understanding of own potential and proportional. It is not a shortcut to gain equality. In this way, it is understandable that being free and independent is not attack others, including men who known as the barrier in convincing women’s right. Succeed do not measure through what other’s had done, but through how far we can maximize our potential appropriated with our proportional, not with attacking men. We can be equal besides men when we possess a potential which is in addition same with men. And together we, men and women, can walk in harmonization. As we know, men and women have diverse skills and abilities. They need each other to effectively manage and complete their life.
Sometimes, what some feminists achieve in struggling their right is strange. They demand the equality among men and women. But in the other hand, they also maintain some rights they have had and men have given for incredibly extensive time: the right to be protected. For example, the door is opened when out from the car and many special things which is actually encoding women as a tender creature. They are nevertheless enjoying it while struggling for another right. There is a contradictory here. It is confusing, for some cases women push themselves to step forward, but at the same time they also hold their movement. Does it the nervous symptoms to also maintain the same obligation as men do have? At least, obligation to be responsible for own life as a human, as what men repeatedly do. As we know, when there is a right, there is also an obligation. Conceivably, such condition needs reflection about the main point, message, and spirit of equality.
The desire of being equal has to be considered with the mature thinking. The point of view of equality and women’s freedom has to deep and wide. It is not struggling for the right against men’s right.
The spirit of equality itself is to return the women’s right robbed for many years, especially to stop the cruelty towards women. The women’s right struggle endure the struggle of humanism: all creatures in the world have to be appreciated.
It is thoroughly recommended to women today that there are still many women run their job without putting off their role as a housewife and mother, who the one can educate and take care of their family with the appropriate way. We cannot blame the feminism as the tool to defeat men. Men and women are created to build a synergy life. There is no balance in the world if each gene defeat one another. Women cannot live without men, and vice versa. No superior among them.