Majority of Working Mothers Are Like Me

THESE 2 days I’m getting updates from my alumni group on PERWANIS, the international conference organized by Wanita Isma. The event gathered academicians and  professional women around the region to share social issues related to women and exchanging ideas and thoughts on how to empower women to fully play their role from the perspective of Islam.

I can’t wait for the media team to release the recordings of the speeches and presentation from the invited speakers. I really want to join the conference but unable to take day off from office work since I have just got back from long leave and my superior has specifically given reminder email to me to be present at office during these few weeks due to ongoing critical phase of our project. 😌

However, while scrolling FB in the train on my way home from office yesterday, I saw an online news portal i.e. The Malay Mail Online (TMMO) making a misleading headline about the event. They spinned the parts and pieces of the media statement made by Isma President and not even highlighting the actual content of the program itself.

Then I saw postings from the feminist group page and some of their members making  negative remarks on the event solely based on the article produced by TMMO while they themselves were not even there in the first place! They do not even referred to primary source like the Organizer’s page (Wanita Isma) which has almost hourly updates throughout the occasion.

This feminist group labeled the organizer of having stone age mentality just because women are reminded about putting the right priority of their multiple responsibilities and be allowed for more flexibility in their career in order for them to be more effective in their primary role i.e. to nurture the future generation.

I am the only lady engineer in my team. From the first day of my assignment, I told my team including my superior that I am a mother of three who would put family as first priority. From time to time I educate them of how I juggle my multiple responsibilities as a Muslim working mother so that they understand why I need the 3 hourly break, the prayer break and halal food requirement, why I will only go for offshore assignment for certain limited duration, the ELs if the kids not well and so on.

Surprisingly, even we are of different religion and nationality, they are very supportive and show their understanding and respect since the commitment and work performance is not affected with this flexibility I am creating for myself.

Given a choice, I don’t want to react to every false or misleading statement made by this feminist group because I don’t want to follow their game and their hypocrisy. I don’t want to follow them; as they are not my teachers (quoting script from Lion of the Desert movie). But I took time to make this entry so that my circle of friends from school and university know my stance towards this so called ‘Islamic’ feminism movement and so that my loved ones will not fall for this deceptive ideology.

In addition, I believe the vast majority of Muslim women out there agree with the discussions and resolutions made during the Perwanis conference; I am just reiterating and trying to make the majority voice louder and be heard.

Pardon me to use this phrase to throw back to their face:

Haiyoo what lah!

You tag your movement name with the word ‘Islam’ and described your organization as a group of Muslim women committed to promoting the rights of women within the framework of Islam. In reality, you have not shown a credibility to truthfully make Islam as the main objective in your cause.

Even in your feminism activism, you have not been consistent in your own definition of feminism. Whenever the Islamic scholar give reminders about women’s role in Islam, you take it personally and claim that the scholar misinterpreted the meaning of feminism of your cause. You twist the definition of feminism and play the victim card to make the Islamist look bad and make them as your main target for fault-finding.

You said you struggle for women to get equal pay for equal work? Sorry I really don’t get this one. I may have only been in the workforce for around 10 years but I have never seen a case that someone with equal qualification and experience (e.g. fresh graduate) being paid lower for the same job just because of gender. I’m not aware of any isolated case of this kind but I don’t think it’s a valid cause of struggle at least in this country.

You say you fight for women’s right but you don’t want to fight for mother’s longing needs for special care and flexibility in the workforce. Oh maybe because they are not in the real workforce per se; who needs to leave home by 6.30 am, knocking on nursery door each morning before its operating hours and only get home at dusk to see the kids.

If you are true fighter for women’s right you would appreciate the mother’s instinct and naluri. A true and pure mother’s heart would always want to give the best for their family; regardless of her position or profession. She would want to change the world into a safer and better place for the kids; curbing all the social illness from hurting their sweethearts’ life.

Please stop hurting the ones who choose not to chase the corporate ladder but to be full time  ‘Rabbaitul Bait’ or ‘The Queen of the house’ instead (but the feminist prefer the word homemaker). Homemakers are women too who by right more qualify to be in your radar of perjuangan rather than the award-winning transgender and LGBT lots.

Haiyoo what lah!

Nurhazlin Binti Mat Musak
Wanita Isma activist & Senior Engineer

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