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The importance of synergy between NU’s women strengths

The importance of synergy between NU’s women strengths
Women’s roles and movements have recently emerged more and more, but among the women themselves, there are many different concepts on what they must be, that is why they have different ways of seeing cases such as abortion, pornography, freedom, etc. In NU’s environment, there are at least three women’s autonomous bodies representing some parties. What efforts and cooperation should be taken between women mass organizations and between NU’s women autonomous bodies, here is the interview of NU Online’s Mukafi Niam with the General Chairwoman of the Nahdlatul Ulama women organization (Muslimat NU), Khofifah Indar Parawansa after welcoming the Hizbullah Women Chief Afaf Al Hakim at the PBNU headquarters early December.

What do you think about women organizations movement’s direction?

I myself view the existence of the mushrooming women organizations positively, but what we have to see now is the synergy ability regardless of their levels, members, and programs. I think, what we should consolidate is synergy. For instance, the Deliberation Board of Indonesian Muslim Women Organizations (BMOIWI) that is likely a confederation, such as The Indonesian Women Congress (KOWANI).<>

So it has not yet become such synergy forum between women organization strengths, women, mass organizations or anything else. The KOWANI has approximately 76 (women) organizations, while the BMOIWI has perhaps 37 organizations, but the scene has not become a synergy medium between women organizations. So, what should be done in terms of an existing synergy; we should in turn map together, oh….we see…there, the women mortality rates are still high; who can still involve; there, the illiteracy rate is still high; who can handle it there, oh I see there, there are many having ability but their financial resources remain low, they need capacity building, they are in need of support, namely finance.

The mapping is very important without necessarily awaiting assistance from anybody else. I mean, we don not have to await the government, or again any body else. organizations can independently play their own roles. Each of them has now worked and remained ceremonial. There have so far been no strategic and synergic cooperation.

What about cooperation between NU’s women organizations alone?

Actually, it is not as simple as I think. Formerly, when I was mandated to be general chairwoman, at least within the NU’s structure, Muslimat is the most senior organization, though I was younger than the chairwoman of the Nahdlatul Ulama Young Women Organization ( Fatayat ) and even in my second term I am still younger. But I would like to see from the NU’s structure that the Muslimat is at senior level. I have tried to communicate how these purposeful programs can run together, but it is not easy. I do not know what was going on at that time. The problem is there have been always some make us unable to work together. Hopefully the scene can immediately be mediated by the PBNU because Muslimat, Fatayat and IPPNU have entire equality before the PBNU. If we see from its born, the Muslimat is the oldest, right? But its position before the NU is the same, no one is more “senior” or dominant.

That is why, we need PBNU mediation to synergize among all powers of the autonomous bodies. This is what I have some of the time said to PBNU officials. So, as for me, in dealing with the processes, each body has each own dynamics. The maximalization of the autonomous bodies, institutions and committees is in need of endorsement. But at about 99.9 percent, they have still run alone.

The meetings to synergize institutions, committees, and autonomous bodies are not always conducted once in six months, not always once a year, You see? So there should be a forum to communicate it, even I do want there are program synchronizing meetings. The meetings are important to make NU’s institutions do programs as done by autonomous bodies. Actually, each wants to maximize its functions, but it is not the same whether we have program synchronizing meetings or not. A meeting that is synchronized with the PBNU plenary, for instance, it will result in many agendas, it is especially for the program synchronizing meetings only. I think, we should provide two days to synchronize the programs, if not at night, some nights. For from morning till evening we have activities, at night we can hold a meeting synchronize programs. When the mapping is clear, what done by the institutions, committees, and autonomous bodies can be monitored and PBNU knows their progress.

Related to women movements in NU having no the same vision?

It should not be generalized, if I am as Muslimat is compared with IPPNU, that is funny, of course we are different. Muslimat focuses more on service, Fatayat focuses more on advocacy, IPPNU is in favor of facilitation because it is a cadre organization, not a mass organization, it must be different. But of course there should be a synergy between NU’s women strengths, autonomous bodies, and institutions. That’s why I always support HIDMAT or Muslimat preachers association to synergize with the Nahdlatul Ulama Preaching Institution (LDNU). I remind this many times, we cannot await anyone to mediate. In turn the Hidmat leaders should be proactive to meet the LDNU ones to make new programs.

How do you see about the Feminism Movement?

It Depends, which feminists, there are socialist, liberal, also conservative. So, if the feminists try to maximize women’s role it is ok, but if they have gone too far, I keep on staying in norm and value barricade. If Muslim mass organizations, their barricade is Islamic law. It should be considered as such a fence. If we have come out of the norm, we have reduced our humanity meaning in nature. For instance, in the name of women rights, many have become single parents, I just want to buy sperms, I do not need a husband, they speak about their rights, but, what about children child’s rights, it has come out of the norm.

Then, some acting on behalf of women rights or reproductive rights have tried to deal with legal abortion for regarding Islam has yet to recognize its law. The scene should be kept on guard. Abortion is legal when the embryo threatens mother’s life. The exception should be in line with religious principles, norms, and moral values.

Some of the women are liberal. They have struggled to address women rights as free as possible, and I should not be like that. The norms has absolutely built both civilization and culture. So the people whose no the norms are not human.

There have been some Muslim women activists opposed to polygamy, pornography bills (RUU APP ) and supporting abortion, what is the true, they have Islamic background, right?

It is categorized as women liberation, if the liberation has come out of the norms, it should be back to the meaning of human alone and the meaning of civilization as well. When they talk about civilized society, how do they deal with civilization and human dignity. It is unacceptable to do anything in the name of reproductive rights. There should be regulation patterns.

I feel, in some parts people see me as a conservative. For me, human should be differentiated with the non human, never reduce human meaning in the name of unlimited freedom. As for me again, to place women as the first and the foremost mother is very important. To place women as part of next generation preserving both culture and civilization is extremely essential. If we know that there are such patterns going loosely too far, there should be destruction of human civilization of course. I am as not the same as they are.

Then, what about interaction between women and men?

I think the relation is merely functional, functional structural especially in dealing with their own profession. It is understandable. should women be men and vice versa, it is not like that.

There is equality in family, right?

Let us imagine, for example, when husband is sick, his wife should earn money. There are drunkard, gambler husbands, is it proper for them to be heads of household. let us eagerly scrutinize the problems in our society. I think, how to build equality in the position of mutual understanding. Yes, they should understand their own position, it should not be forced. Even though the husbands are gamblers, drunkards, drug abusers, or whatever, they should be the heads of family. Then, what decision should be taken, think about it!

What we should now consider to build the mutual understanding is that the fact there is a mounting tendency of divorce cases, “it is very high”. For instance in Makassar, data in 2005 that could be accessed in 2007, from the Directorate General of Islamic Mass Guidance (Bimas) of the Ministry of Religious Affairs as saying that there was 85 percent of divorce charges, in Jakarta 75 or 80 percent, in Surabaya 80 percent, in Bandung only 65 percent. In Semarang 70 percent, in Medan 75 percent, in Cilacap 80 percent, what is going on?

What is the cause?

There are 13 items, first they are not in harmony, why? The main cause is husbands doing polygamy; second, irresponsible husbands, third, economic factors and the 13th is different party. This is what comes always to my mind. It can be dangerous if the causes are not studied carefully for it is related to the family strength. Do not talk about national strength if the family is very vulnerable in such a way.

For me, the divorce cases and inharmony within family are very serious problems. I think the Bimas Islam has already reported, but it has never been captured on such a scale and even many mass medias have written about the cases. I think each of us should give responses to be expectedly reflected by individuals and families as a whole. Do not underestimate the responses. And in the Muslimat, I say about this anywhere. Fathers could you please maintain your family and not to order mothers to maintain yours. (mkf)




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